Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What makes the wife happier?

The flexible margin in a household's labor supply is usually the wife. As long as the husband has a decent income, the decision to work for the wife can then hinge on more than strictly economic factors, such as finding it more satisfying to work or not to work. Everyone is different in this regard, yet there may be some aggregate trends that may help us better understand the female labor supply as well as what can improve the population's well-being.

Edsel Beja finds that women are generally just as happy being a housewife or a working wife. But there are subtleties once you look closer at the data from the World Values Survey. In middle-income countries, there is a clear ranking in satisfaction: part-time work is best, housewife second, and full-time work is last. This should contribute to the realization that work is not an all-or-nothing decision, and that flexible work schedules can be very much appreciated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

mark this column, and try reading it in 20 years. it will sound funny. in advanced countries today, the women in school now, on the market 20 years from now will be making more. recent iq and general aptitude tests speak to this.