Yifan Shen , Brown University
Using data from China Household Income Project (CHIP), this paper introduces a new decomposition approach to examine how changes in the earnings resemblance of spouses are related to trends in overall earnings inequality among married couples in urban China from 1988 to 2013. Nonparametric rank correlation is used to measure the changing within-couple earnings association. I find that the impacts on inequality trends of various parts of the changing within-couple earnings association are highly unequal and tend to offset one another. As a result, its overall impact is weak. Over time there are more equal-earner families among high-earning women, and more top-earning husbands have non-earning wives. The former increases while the latter decreases earnings inequality. These opposing trends have obscured the important role that the changing within-couple earnings association plays in shaping the trends in earnings inequality among married couples in urban China.
Presented in Session 120. Marriage, Assortative Mating and Inequality