Derek Thompson at the Atlantic has an interesting article about female breadwinners. He asks, “Why there are so very few marriages where women earn more than their husbands, and why such marriages are so troubled.” Marianne Bertrand, Jessica Pan, and Emir Kamenica hypothesize that there aren’t that many marriages with female-breadwinners, because husbands hate being out-earned by their wives, and wives hate living with husbands who resent them.
Thompson points to one of their surprising finds.
The most surprising thing was that wives who earn more from paid work also report doing significantly more chores around the house. This doesn’t make much sense, intuitively. For women and men at all income levels, more work in the office usually leads to less time spent doing chores at home. But suddenly, when a wife earns more than her husband, her hours spent on chores and childcare go up.
“Classical economics can’t explain that increase,” Kamenica said. “The only way to make sense of it is compensatory behavior.” In English, please? “Maybe the husband feels threatened, so she does more of the cooking, even though she earns more.”
Ugh on so many levels.