Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/107509
Authors: 
Hryshko, Dmytro
Juhn, Chinhui
McCue, Kristin
Year of Publication: 
2014
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Papers 8729
Abstract: 
We examine changes in inequality and instability of the combined earnings of married couples over the 1980-2009 period using two U.S. panel data sets: Social Security earnings data matched to Survey of Income and Program Participation panels (SIPP-SSA) and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Relative to male earnings inequality, the inequality of couples' earnings is both lower in levels and rises by a smaller amount. We also find that couples' earnings instability is lower in levels compared to male earnings instability and actually declines in the SIPP-SSA data. While wives' earnings played an important role in dampening the rise in inequality and year-to-year variation in resources at the family level, we find that marital sorting and coordination of labor supply decisions at the family level played a minor role. Comparing actual couples to randomly paired simulated couples, we find very similar trends in earnings inequality and instability.
Subjects: 
inequality
instability
matching
JEL: 
J1
J2
J3
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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