The Impact of Wives' Earnings on Earnings Inequality Among Married-couple Households in Malaysia

by Shahina Amin, Julie DaVanzo

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Using data from the First and Second Malaysian Family Life Surveys, we analyze the effects of wives' earnings on household earnings' inequality in Peninsular Malaysia in 1976 and 1988. We find that wives' earnings helped equalize the distribution of household earnings in Malaysia, both at the two points in time and over time. The equalizing effect of wives' earnings over time is in part due to the fact that the correlation between husbands' and wives' earnings decreased between 1976 and 1988.

Originally published in: Journal of Asian Economics, v. 15, issue 1, February 2004, pp. 49-70.

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