The hidden taxes that challenge women

That is the new and excellent Sendhil Mullainathan NYT column, here is one excerpt from many good points:

Corporate success has similar consequences: Women who become chief executives divorce at higher rates than others.

Another study found that the same is true in Hollywood: Winning the best actress Oscar portends a divorce, while winning the best actor award does not.

Of course, the divorce itself may be a preferred outcome, one that is better than enduring a poisonous relationship. Even then, I’d argue that the tax was exacted in the emotional toll and the time lost in a failed marriage.

Men react particularly negatively to their spouses’ relative success. Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica, economists at the University of Chicago, and Jessica Pan, an economist at the National University of Singapore, examined the wages of spouses. Because women generally earn less in the work force, they generally earn less than their husbands, too.

What is more surprising in the data is that it is far more common for the husband to earn just a tiny bit more than the wife than the other way around. The fact that women on average earn less does not account for such a sharp asymmetry.

The piece is interesting throughout.


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