The purpose of this paper is to focus on earnings inequality within dual-earner couples in four Central-East European (CEE) countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. It aims to analyse the factors that influence earnings distribution within couples.
The analysis uses OLS regression applied on the Statistics on Income and Living Conditions 2011 survey to reveal the various influence of relevant factors, especially relative education and the presence of children, on relative earnings.
Women, on average, contribute less to a couple’s income than men. While considerably higher in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, such disparity is relatively low in Hungary and Poland. These countries have the highest share of dual-earner couples where the woman outearns her partner. The factor that substantially reduces the within-couple earnings inequality in all the analysed countries is a higher relative education of women. On the contrary, the presence of children, especially those of younger age, increases this disparity in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The research on within-couple earning inequality in CEE countries lags behind the relatively rich evidence from western Europe. This is the first study which systematically describes the situation in CEE countries from a comparative perspective.
JEL Classification — D19, J31, J79
Work on this paper was supported by Grant No. P402/12/G130 “The relationships between skills, schooling and labour market outcomes: a longitudinal study” from the Czech Science Foundation. The author wishes to thank Jiří Večerník (The Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague) for his valuable comments and advice.
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