Work and Earnings within Couples in Italy

Romina Fraboni , Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)
Elisa Marzilli, Istat
Silvia Montecolle, Istat
Lucia Coppola, Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)
Isabella Siciliani, Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)

Female education has increased steadily and gender reversal in education has been observed in Italy since the ‘90s. Female employment rate has increased slowly and persistently across generations, yet less than 50% of women is employed in 2018. Nowadays the proportion of dual-earner couples is generally higher than that of male breadwinners. However gender balance within the household and on the labour market is far from being reached; indeed, women are increasingly at risk to leave the labour market when the first child is born. On the other hand, during the economic crisis we observed and increase in female employment rate, in part as a substitution of the male exit from the labour market. Our purpose is to investigate the changing distributions of work and earnings within couples in Italy: we study whether the female breadwinner model is becoming structurally present in the Italian labour market and whether the female relative contribution to the couple’s income is increasing. We consider the association between individual and couple characteristics and the likelihood for a couple to be dual-earner, male or female breadwinner; then we focus on dual earners to study whether women contribute in a smaller, similar or larger proportion than their partners to the couple income. The consequences are relevant in order to study the change in inequalities arising from a shift in the gender roles within the household. We use data from the Labour force and Eu-Silc survey for the years 2008, 2013 and the latest available year.

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 Presented in Session 37. Gender Perspectives. Session dedicated to the memory of Antonella Pinnelli