According to a study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, married men earn more than married women, unmarried men and unmarried women. The difference can be as much as 80%.
The data shows that for workers with a least high school diploma, there are no differences in wages among single workers. Workers who have never married, be they men or women, earn very similar wages.
Secondly, married and single women earn close to the same wages, a surprise considering married women may be more likely to have children than single women. The findings are inconsistent with the view that the gap in wages among genders results from women having children earlier in life and losing ground in human capital accumulation relative to men.
According to analysis by Guillaume Vandenbroucke, a research officer at the Fed, the fact that married men make more than the other three categories may not imply that the increase in wages is a direct result of a man being married. It may be that men with higher wages are more likely to marry.
“The gender wage gap remains a complicated topic. But progress may come from asking different questions: not just why women earn less than men (although not compared with single men), but also why married men earn so much more than everyone else,” Vandenbroucke says.
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