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When Men Earn Less Than Their Wives, Both Spouses Lie About It


It turns out when life doesn’t fit gender expectations people get a little uncomfortable. Two economists examined data from the U.S. Census survey from between 2003 and 2015 and compared it to income data from the IRS for those same couples. The data shows that wives out-earned husbands in about 22.9% of couples, and when the wives earned more, men who filled out their family’s census survey reported earnings that were about two percent higher than they actually were, and knocked about two percent off their wives’ income. Women who earned more and filled out the census survey also lied, deflating their own earnings by a little less than one percent, and over-reporting their husband’s wages by about 3.5%. This could be explained by the results of a 2015 study from the University of Chicago, which found couples with higher-earning wives reported greater marital strife that was more likely to end with the wife quitting work, or in divorce.