Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University Working Paper Series, Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University

No 1/2000:
Partner Choice and Women's Paid Work in Sweden - The Role of Earnings

Ursula Henz and Marianne Sundström ()

Abstract: Recent observations of higher labour -market activity among women with a high-earning spouse and widened household inequality have spurred research interest in earnings homogamy and in effects of own and spouse’s earnings on female labour supply. This article studies trends in earnings homogamy among married and cohabiting parents and in effects of own and spouse’s earnings on mothers’ time in employment and non-employment in Sweden. We analyse, first, correlations between spouses’ earnings and, second, effects of time -varying own and spouse’s earnings on mothers’ transitions between part-time and full-time work, on their exits from and re-entries into employment and on their exits from parental leave over the years 1968-92. We use individual life histories from the 1992 Swedish Family Survey combined with longitudinal information on earnings from the national taxation register. A unique aspect of this data set is that it has very accurate longitudinal earnings information for both married and cohabiting spouses, including former spouses. We find that mothers’ own earnings have a larger and more significant impact on their labour -market transitions than spouse’s earnings and that the impact of the latter has even declined over time.

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42 pages, September 1, 2001

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