An empirical and theoretical study of husbands and wives labour supply.

  • Samuel Cameron

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The study is an analysis of the decisions regarding weekly hours worked made by marital partners. Chapter 1 provides a critical review of the relevant literature, in economics, in order to locate the study in its appropriate context; the end of the chapter summarizes the findings of previous research. Chapter 2 develops the idea that supply decisions, in the family, depend on the bargaining structure adopted as well as the impact of relative wages. Types of bargaining structure are reviewed. The chapter ends with the identification of observable determinants of bargaining structure. Chapter 3 explains the statistical model used and the data on which it is tested. The data are 1965 pairs of both working husbands and wives taken from the 1974 General Household Survey. Chapters 4-7 use these data to investigate the model of labour supply decisions for sub-samples chosen by age, state of health, colour, length of wife's working week, and social class. These results are summarized and discussed in Chapter 8. The results show a great deal of variation across groups in the estimated impact of offered wages, education, age and other variables on hours of work chosen by marital partners. Two general conclusions emerge: (i) husbands' supply response to own wage rates is negative whilst wives' is generally positive. (ii) economists ought to pay more attention to non-wage determinants of labour supply as these seem to be of great significance - particularly age, social class and children.
Date of Award1984
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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