The social science backs up common sense and observation concerning the terrible social policy of encouraging women to work outside the home rather than marry and raise children.
We examine causes and consequences of relative income within households. We show that the distribution of the share of income earned by the wife exhibits a sharp drop to the right of 1/2 , where the wife’s income exceeds the husband’s income. We argue that this pattern is best explained by gender identity norms, which induce an aversion to a situation where the wife earns more than her husband. We present evidence that this aversion also impacts marriage formation, the wife’s labor force participation, the wife’s income conditional on working, marriage satisfaction, likelihood of divorce, and the division of home production. Within marriage markets, when a randomly chosen woman becomes more likely to earn more than a randomly chosen man, marriage rates decline. In couples where the wife’s potential income is likely to exceed the husband’s, the wife is less likely to be in the labor force and earns less than her potential if she does work. In couples where the wife earns more than the husband, the wife spends more time on household chores; moreover, those couples are less satisfied with their marriage and are more likely to divorce. These patterns hold both cross-sectionally and within couples over time.
Whatever the theoretical benefits of doubling the percentage of women in the workforce were, the material costs to society have dramatically exceeded them. This is not about women working per se, as one-third of women have always worked, but the change since 1950 is that most young marriage-age women now work so that old men can collect Social Security, watch TV, and play golf instead of working as they always had before.
The results have been not merely dyscivic and dysgenic, but downright dyscivilizational. And regardless of what you think on the matter, it is clear that a society which encourages widespread female education and employment is not sustainable and is guaranteed to collapse sooner rather than later.