Derek Thompson pores over new research on the rise of women who out-earn their husbands:
In a cool new paper, Marianne Bertrand, Jessica Pan, and Emir Kamenica pose a theory that some people might find controversial but others might find intuitive: What if there’s a deficit of marriages where the wife is the top earner because — to put things bluntly — husbands hate being out-earned by their wives, and wives hate living with husbands who resent them?
If this were true, we would expect to see at least [four] other things to be true. First, we’d expect marriages with female breadwinners to be surprisingly rare. Second, we’d expect them to produce unhappier marriages. Third, we might expect these women to cut back on hours, do more household, or make other gestures to make their husbands feel better. Fourth, we’d expect these marriages to end more in divorce. Lo and behold (as you no doubt guessed), the economists found all of those assumptions borne out by the evidence.
Regardless, Derek expects we’re nearing the end of male-breadwinner dominance:
Women are going to be the primary breadwinners in more and more families for so many reasons — (1) the shift from brawn economy to service economy; (2) women’s growing share of college degrees; and (3) sexism softening among male-dominated industries as women establish themselves in more positions of power. A national aversion to successful wives is a really bad recipe for economic growth and family formation. Get over it, guys. It’s a woman’s world, now.