Family States and the Gender Wage Gap in Canada

Jarl Mooyaart , McGill University
Celine Le Bourdais, McGill University

Family decisions have a different impact for men and women on their income over the life-course. Previous research has demonstrated many examples of this, including the motherhood penalty, the marriage premium and the differential impact of divorce. However, most research has focused on one aspect of family related to gender wage differences, e.g. the impact of marriage/cohabitation or that of parenthood. The aim of this research is to provide an overview of how combined family states, i.e. marital status and parenthood status are associated with income from wage for men and women. We examine differences between single, cohabiting, married, divorced/separated and repartnered men and women, with and without children, in order to understand how different family states are associated with men’s and women’s wage income. We use the linked data of the 2011 Canadian General Social Survey (GSS), containing retrospective family histories, and respondents’ annual tax records starting from 1982 until 2011 (T1 Family Files – T1FF), including observations from the ages 25 to 55. Results demonstrate the largest gender gaps are found in family states in which the respondent has had a child of their own. This result persists even when controlling for the number of children in the household. Furthermore, the gap is larger in family states with marriage compared with states with cohabitation, but in the more recent years this difference is no longer significant. Finally, the gender gap is smallest in single (never partnered without child) and the separated (after cohabitation without child) family states.

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 Presented in Session 98. Gender and Family Finance