Who Brings Home the Bacon? The Influence of Context

Agnese Vitali, University of Southampton

Women who out-earn their partners represent a relatively new phenomenon in Europe. In this paper we study the contextual correlates of this phenomenon. In particular, we focus on male unemployment rate and gender egalitarian attitudes as possible explanatory factors of the variation in the prevalence of female-breadwinner and equal-earner families. We employ multilevel models on data from round 5 (2010) of the European Social Survey integrated with data from the Eurostat database. Preliminary descriptive results show a high level of spatial heterogeneity across countries and regions within countries and show that contextual influences are indeed important. In particular, we find that equal-earner families are widespread in contexts characterized by high gender equity as well as in those characterized by high male unemployment. We do not find any influence of gender egalitarian attitudes on the prevalence of female-breadwinner families. Women as main earners, on average, appear to be mainly driven by economic reasons.

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Presented in Session 235: Consequences of Domestic Gender Equality