Dual-earner couples in Europe: evidence from EU-SILC 2004 (Community Statistics on Income and Living Conditions)

Lucia Coppola, Instituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)
Cristina Freguja, Instituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)

In this paper we investigate the distribution of dual-earner couples in EU countries, particularly considering the association between individual and household characteristics and the likelihood for a couple to adopt a particular model of partners contribution to earnings. We use data from EU-SILC 2004 (Community Statistics on Income and Living Conditions). Firstly, we use logistic regression to contrast "man sole provider" couples against "dual-earner" couples. Results show that EU couples are more likely to adopt the dual-earner model than the man sole provider, but important differences between Northern and Southern countries exist when looking at the percentages of couples adopting these models. However, when considering the association between household and individual characteristics and the two types of couples, north-south differences disappear: in all countries, indeed, the dual-earner model is more likely to be associated with highly educated women, especially if more educated than their partners, with cohabiting couples, without children in pre-scholar age, and with medium high levels of household income. Secondly, we focus on dual-earner couples only, and use multinomial logistic regression to contrast respectively "woman main provider", and "man main provider" couples against "equal providers" couples. When considering these types of dual-earner couples, the association with the household and individual characteristics is less clear, and relevant country differences appear. However, generally speaking, the woman main provider model, if compared with the equal providers one, is commonly associated with highly educated women, and usually more educated than their partners, but also with the poorest quintiles of the household equivalised income distribution. The man main provider model, when compared with the equal providers one, appears to be commonly associated with low educated women, usually less educated than their partners, and also with the presence of children, especially in pre-scholar age.

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Presented in Session 34: Her Career and His: Men and Women Labour Force Participation in Europe