Income Inequality: Blame Feminists!

Okay, I’m kidding about that, seeing as I’m a bit of a feminist myself, but let me explain.

The WSJ has an article about how one cause of income inequality is “assortive mating,” i.e. smart, ambitious people marrying smart, ambitious people.  As smart, ambitious women have held high-powered jobs, this has increased the gap between the rich and the poor.

Let’s imagine two traditional families and two modern families:
Doctor, married to a nurse, she stays at home once the kids are born: annual income, $300k/year.
Welder, married to a secretary, she stays at home: annual income, $50k/year.
The high-powered family earns six times as much as the blue-collar family.

Doctor marries a doctor; they both work. Annual income: $600k/year.
Welder marries a secretary; she stays at home with the kids because daycare costs more than she earns: annual income, $50k/year.
The high-powered family earns twelve times as much as the blue-collar family.

There is therefore *more* income for one family (because it makes sense for Mrs. Doctor to keep working), not the other (because it makes little sense for the secretary to work); this increases income inequality while having absolutely no effect on the income of the blue-collar family.

If you want 1950s-era income equality, then you should have 1950s-era families: everyone married before they have kids, and women stay at home.

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