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July 26, 2017



Does any of the research specifically focus on marriage, or is the real issue parenting cohabitation?

I ask as another factor might be whether someone having kids has become more serious about what they earn as a result. When I became a parent, my partner choose to have a career break and subsequently retrained.

As a result, we went from having two comparable incomes to one, and I simply needed to earn more money to keep the same-ish standard of living. I was lucky enough to get a promotion, but had this not happened, I would doubtless have started looking elsewhere, and as we know, changing jobs is a good way to get a pay raise.

So, a big factor for me would be that it's not being married, per se, as the change in household earning that compels the remaining earner to begin to need to earn more money; shit gets serious.

Luis Enrique

yes, re. your penultimate para, being the sole breadwinner for a family of 4 caused me to wage bargain more aggressively and, I think, may also have been seen as a 'reasonable' basis for my salary demands by my employer. If my wife was earning, or I was solo, I'd not have bothered.


Another plus 1 for your penultimate paragraph.

As well as more agressive wage bargaining, there's also what I'd term 'boss pleasing'. Married men are, in my experience, more likely to focus on what the boss wants for a few reasons: getting promotions and pay rises, geting away from work on time, generall carig less. As a singleton with little ambition promotionwise, I tend to focus on doing or arguing for what (I think) is the right thing.

Also I'm sure job security. But that's not too much of an issue where I work.


I think Dave is on to something. I know that this is anecdote not data, but recently I, a single man with no children, was approached and asked if I was interested in a job that would have involved a significant pay-rise and a lot more hassle and responsibility. And I thought 'I don't need the money'. If I had a family, I expect I would have thought differently (not least because things as basic as housing costs shoot up if you need space for 3-5 people rather than just yourself.

Tim Worstall

Fathers earn more than non-fathers, mothers less than non-mothers. All on average, of course. There was a CBO (umm, report? Or just by a former CBO bird) thing which said that they couldn't see a gender pay gap when they controlled for familial position. Primary child carers made less than their partners.

What would be fascinating to find out is whether that quartet, father, non, mother, non, actually accounts for all of the observable gender pay gap. I rather think it does but I've not the skills to be able to show it.

If mothers earn 10% less, fathers some amount more than other men, the total pay gap is around 10%, not all are parents, it looks like it would be close as a one stop explanation at least.


I think Dave's comment is very valid.

My experiance of having a family is that your disposable income drops. One parent tends to work less hours or stop work, so the other partner has to make up the difference. This makes you more aggressive in your pay bargaining and also more likely to shop around for jobs with more money.

Generally your animal sprits increase as you have more to loose.

Now my family is grown up I am more interested in taking things easy and I look at enjoying work more.


" I suspect that if I’d ever been married I would have earned more because I would have changed jobs. I’d have chosen higher-paid but riskier or less interesting jobs than the one I’ve had."

No, you ideally want your children not to be moving schools every couple of years, losing their mates, and your stay at home wife losing her social circle.

You only do that at the top end of salary, and even then I've known someone turn down a global CEO role cos his kids were happy at their private school (his wife then left him for one of his sales guys, no good deed unpunished).

Most blokes work harder on becoming fathers, you suddenly have more people dependent on you.

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