Since the 1980s, an inter-disciplinary literature drawing heavily from economics and sociology has addressed the interplay between women’s earnings and household income. We use data from the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database to address this relationship in five middle-income and five high-income countries.
We tackle three questions: (1) What share of household income is contributed by women household members? (2) Do women’s earnings increase or mitigate inter-household income inequality? (3) To what extent do women’s earnings enable their households to escape income poverty and/or to attain middle-class income levels? In recent years, as men’s earnings have stagnated or fallen in many countries, and as poverty reduction has become the leading goal of international organizations such as the United Nations, this question has attracted increasing attention.
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