ISER Working Paper Series 2008-23
Women's economic gains from employment, marriage and cohabitation
10 Jul 2008
U.S. public policy promotes both marriage and labor market participation as strategies for
improving the economic welfare of low-income women and their children. Here I compare women’s economic gains from marriage, cohabitation and employment. Using data from the NLSY79, I estimate a fixed-effects model of household income (adjusted for household composition). I find that among “poor” women (those who ever received welfare), the log household income of single, nonemployed women
would increase by 0.80 if they enter a cohabiting union, 1.04 if they marry, 0.76 if they work part-time (1000 hours/year), and 1.16 if they work full-time (2000 hours/year).