Sunday, June 2, 2013

Breadwinner wives

In his NY Times column, Dick Thaler writes about the "interesting new paper by Marianne Bertrand, Emir Kamenica and Jessica Pan, three economists who are colleagues of mine at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. They found that traditional views of gender identity, particularly the view that the right and proper role of the husband is to make more money than the wife, are affecting choices of whom to marry, how much to work, and even whether to stay married."

 He ends with this:
"But now back to the notion of couples’ contentment: Is there any way to tell whether it’s the wife or the husband who becomes unhappy when the wife earns more? Does he think that she is threatening his manliness, or does she think that he’s a slacker?
That may be impossible to answer, partly because of something I learned long ago from Alvin E. Roth, a Nobel laureate in economics last year. I call it Roth’s rule: In equilibrium, it’s impossible for you to be happier than your spouse.
If you and your spouse both understand that rule, you’re both likely to be happier — regardless of how much money either of you make."

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