David Lam

Lam and Binder say marriage data alone may not prove the husband "breadwinner" preference

an In The Media Reference

"Does society still put pressure on husbands to earn more than their wives?" - Market Watch. 8/22/2018.

A new analysis by Ariel Binder and David Lam using census data finds that marriage matching patterns suggestive of a social preference for men to earn more than their wives are not, in themselves, good evidence for the existence of a male "breadwinner" norm. Given the gender gap in earnings, they say, it can be misleading to infer social preferences based solely on positive marital sorting on earnings. And, as women's opportunities in the workforce continue to increase, the husband breadwinner notion may be a bit outmoded. The researchers say: “It is possible that labor market change has outpaced social change, and slow-moving gender norms play a key role in generating these extant gender gaps in marriage.”


David Lam

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