Shouldn’t we call it the “having-a-husband” penalty?

Jan 7, 2014

As Jennifer Grose at Slate reported this morning, a paper by Wendy Stock and John Siegfried at the most recent AEA meetings, had some very disturbing – but not surprising – findings in regarding women academics and marriage.  The Slate article calls it the “wife penalty.”  I’d prefer it to be called the “having-a-husband penalty.”  In no uncertain terms, having a husband costs:

“For males, getting married within the first five years after graduation was associated with a 25 percent salary growth premium relative to other males. For females,however, getting married was associated with a 23 percent salary growth penalty relative to other females, perhaps reflecting compromises incurred in a two-career job search”  (Stock and Siegfried 2014, 14-15).

The paper is available for download at the AEA site.

One interesting thing I noted:  it also appears that marriage at time of degree could be a short-term boost:

“we found that marriage was significantly associated with salary growth, with those who were married at the time they earned their degree experiencing roughly 15 percent higher salary growth over the first five years of their careers”  (Stock and Siegfried 2014, 14).

I wonder if this is due to issues of age or self-selection, something previously discussed at the Duck

*Thanks to Justin Esarey for bringing this article to my attention.

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Amanda Murdie is Professor & Dean Rusk Scholar of International Relations in the Department of International Affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She is the author of Help or Harm: The Human Security Effects of International NGOs (Stanford, 2014). Her main research interests include non-state actors, and human rights and human security.

When not blogging, Amanda enjoys hanging out with her two pre-teen daughters (as long as she can keep them away from their cell phones) and her fabulous significant other.