Relative income, gender identity and unpaid domestic work gap: Evidence for Colombia

Autor o Editor
Salazar-Díaz, Andrea

The series Borradores de Economía (Working Papers on Economics) contributes to the dissemination and promotion of the work by researchers from the institution. On multiple occasions, these works have been the result of collaborative work with individuals from other national or international institutions. This series is indexed at Research Papers in Economics (RePEc). The opinions contained in this document are the sole responsibility of the author and do not commit Banco de la República or its Board of Directors.

Fecha de publicación


This article studies the effect of gender identity social norms on relative income and time use in Colombia’s households. I find a discontinuity in women’s relative income distribution, precisely in the point when they exceed men’s income. This phenomenon has been observed in other countries and it has been mostly attributed to gender identity social norms that induce an aversion to women earning more income than their partners. I extend this analysis and show that the drop in the relative income distribution is greater in less educated and more traditional couples, consistent with a strong prescription of gender roles. In addition, I find that the unpaid domestic work gap increases by approximately one hour a day in those households where women exceed men’s income. This could only be explained by an increase in the time women dedicate to core domestic work, which also implies a reduction in women’s free time. The results suggest that women increase their unpaid domestic work participation to alleviate the gender role deviation when they earn more money than their partners.