Marriage Stability and Private Versus Shared Expenditures Within Families: Evidence from Japanese Families

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Abstract

Previous studies have identified the negative impacts of an increase in the proportion of a wife’s income to the couple’s combined income, as well as of the gap in housework/childcare, on the stability of a marriage, increasing the likelihood of divorce. However, the intrahousehold mechanism is still inconclusive in terms of this issue. In the present study, we investigated a potential alternative mechanism, following the gender identity framework and the collective model and using longitudinal survey data from 1993 to 2015 from the Japanese Panel Survey of Consumers (JPSC). The findings showed that an increase in a wife’s share of the couple income increased her relative bargaining power and had a significant influence on intrahousehold reallocations of income/time. These intrahousehold reallocations, in turn, had a negative impact on the stability of the marriage. In couples with high-income wives, the husbands transferred their incomes to their wives, and the wives undertook the majority of the housework. In other words, a higher housework burden among wives was associated with regular income transfers from husbands to wives. Meanwhile, despite increases in wives’ income shares, both husbands and wives contributed to the family through reallocations of income/time in order to maintain marriage stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-559
Number of pages27
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Volume153
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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