Does women’s work increase income inequality?
In recent years, it’s been fashionable in the United States to think so. Under eye-catching headlines like “Did Women’s Lib Cause Rising Income Inequality?” and “How When Harry Met Sally Explains Inequality,” proponents of an “assortative mating” theory of inequality have argued that the widespread movement of women into the professional workplace since the 1970s has brought high-earning men and women together into even more high-earning households in an entirely new way.
And yet, the preponderance of research looking at the relationship between women’s increased earnings from work and income inequality among households has long argued the opposite. Most recently, a new study of household income and married women’s employment data by my Center for American Progress colleague Brendan Duke shows that married women’s increased earnings between 1963 and 2013 had a marked effect on slowing the rate of growth of income inequality in the United States.The above excerpt was originally published in Morning Consult.