Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 161–177 | Cite as

Is Dual Income Costly for Married Couples? An Analysis of Household Expenditures

  • Seonglim Lee
  • Jinkook Lee
  • Yunhee Chang
Original Paper


This study analyzed annual household outlays in the recent Consumer Expenditure Survey to obtain the cost of dual income for married couples. Of the crude differences between two- and one-earner married households in payments and expenditures, the portion reflecting structural differences in demand was obtained through decomposition as the measure of the cost of dual income. We found dual-earner couples’ work-related expenditures diminished fulltime working wives’ net contribution by 1.7 % of their average earning. Greater tax burden and Social Security payments diminished fulltime working wives’ net contribution by additional 2.0 and 3.4 % of their average earnings, respectively. Dual-earner couples contributed more to private pension plans and experienced lower levels of current-period consumption including consumption of market substitutes for housework.


Dual-earner households Consumption expenditure Marriage penalty Social Security Married women’s labor supply 



This work was supported by the Samsung Research Grant funded through Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea (S2009-0446-000).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Consumer and Family SciencesSungkyunkwan UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Nutrition and Hospitality ManagementUniversity of MississippiUniversityUSA

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