Study: Married working women earn more decision-making clout in family

BOULDER – A new University of Colorado study shows that married women who work wield more decision-making power over major household expenses like buying a car or appliances.

Francisca Antman, an assistant professor of economics at CU-Boulder, authored the study published in Applied Economics Letters. She used data from a survey of families in Mexico, interviewing couples once in 2002 and again between 2005 and 2007.

The study found that if a married woman has worked in the prior 12 months the likelihood of her involvement in decisions over major purchases with her husband increases by about 5 percentage points.

The study is one of the first of its kind to look at bargaining power rather than simply the differences between what men and women tend to do with allocated resources.

“I think it’s so important because employment is the way that most women, by and large, are going to be able to improve their own situation,” Antman said in a CU press release. “Anytime we are making it easier for women to participate in employment activities, just as men do, we can also expect them to actually have greater influence within their households. And so it’s not just a question of increasing their income, but actually increasing their influence over their own lives.”

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