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Relative Earnings in Families and Depression

Mon, August 14, 4:30 to 6:10pm, Palais des congrès de Montréal, Floor: Level 5, 512E

Abstract

The relationship between income and psychological well-being is well established. Yet almost all research on income and well-being is conducted at the individual level or household level, without taking into account the role played by relative earnings within the context of couples. In this study I estimate the effect of relative earnings of mothers and fathers on their depression levels over time. Specifically, I examine whether non-traditional division of paid labor (stay-at-home or secondary-earner father, and primary- or sole-earner mother) is associated with higher levels of depression than traditional division of paid labor (Primary- or sole-earner father, and stay-at-home or secondary-earner mother). Using longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (NLSY79) I find support for the overarching hypothesis that non-traditional division of paid labor is associated with higher depression levels for both mothers and fathers. Furthermore, I find that gender ideology does not seem to moderate this relationship.

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