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‘The Partner Pay Gap – Associations between Spouses’ Relative Earnings and Life Satisfaction among Couples in the UK

Gash, V. ORCID: 0000-0001-8152-4196 and Plagnol, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-5705-8949 (2020). ‘The Partner Pay Gap – Associations between Spouses’ Relative Earnings and Life Satisfaction among Couples in the UK. Work, Employment and Society, doi: 10.1177/0950017020946657

Abstract

Despite women’s recent gains in education and employment, husbands still tend to out-earn their wives. This article examines the relationship between the partner pay gap, i.e. the difference in earned income between married, co-resident partners, and life satisfaction. Contrary to previous studies, we investigate the effects of recent changes in relative earningswithin couples as well as labour market transitions. Using several waves of the UK Household Longitudinal Study, we reveal that men exhibit an increase in life satisfaction in response to a recent increase in their proportional earnings relative to their wives’ earnings. For women, changes in proportional earnings had no effect on life satisfaction. We also find secondary-earning husbands report lower average life satisfaction than majority-earning and equal-earning men, while such differences were not found for women. The analysis offers compelling evidence of the ongoing role of gendered norms in the sustenance of the partner pay gap.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: The final and definitive version of this manuscript has been accepted for publication in: Work, Employment and Society © 2020; all rights reserved, Sage. https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017020946657
Publisher Keywords: couples’ subjective well-being, equal-earning, household specialisation, income comparisons, life satisfaction, partner pay gap, relative earnings
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2020 12:26
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/24412
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