ICES Experimental Economics Brown Bag Lecture

Is Women’s Competitiveness Expressed Through Their Husband’s Income?

Thursday, March 3, 2022 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST
Online Location, Zoom Meeting

The Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science (ICES) presents an ICES Brown Bag Lecture featuring:

David Ong

Jinan University-Birmingham University Joint Institute

Is Women’s Competitiveness Expressed Through Their Husband’s Income?


Please contact ICES Office Manager ( for Zoom link.



We test for the influence of heterosexual individual’s own and cohabiting partner’s competitiveness on their own and partner’s income using a recently validated measure of competitiveness, incorporated in 2017 within a large representative sample survey, with income data from 2015-2021. First, we show that in aggregate, the past (before 2017) and future (after 2017) income levels of men and women increase with their own competitiveness when we do not control for contemporaneous (2017) income. When we control for contemporaneous income to eliminate the potential influence of past success on surveyed competitiveness, we find that only the future income of single men and women increases on own competitiveness, but not that of cohabiting men or women. Remarkably, only men’s female partner’s competitiveness, not their own, increases their future income. Women’s competitiveness also increases household income, while men’s does not increase their female partner’s nor household income. Inconsistent with women’s competitiveness increasing men’s income by increasing women’s specialization in household production, women’s competitiveness does not increase men’s work hours. However, men’s own competitiveness does increase their work hours, but evidently, longer hours do not increase their income. Our findings suggest that women’s competitiveness may, paradoxically, be contributing to gender and household income inequalities.


For more information about the Brown Bag Lectures, please visit the Brown Bag Schedule homepage.

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