Saturday, September 27, 2003
Study shows married men do earn more
A story published today by Florida Today reports that according to the Men's Health Network of Washington, D.C., and the Association for Work Site Health Promotion, one of the healthiest things a guy can do is get married. Married men take less health risks, eat better and are involved in more health-enhancing behaviors.
Now, a new crop of studies has shown married men earn an average of 10 percent to 40 percent more than those who never have married, yet have similar education and work experience.
"My husband's income tripled after I began encouraging him to focus on his accomplishments and see that he was worth more money," said Joanne Watson, who authored the book "How to Help Your Husband Make More Money So You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom."
Two main reasons are thought to drive the phenomenon, according to Hyunbae Chun and Injae Lee of the Department of Economics at New York University, who published a study called "Why Do Married Men Earn More: Productivity or Marriage Selection."
First is the "productivity hypothesis": Having a partner to support, encourage and motivate makes the other partner more productive.
Second is the "selection hypothesis": Women tend to marry men with characteristics that make them more successful in the workplace. They avoid men who don't.
Analyzing 1999 survey data of about 2,700 men, Chun and Lee found married men earned an average of 12.4 percent more per hour than unmarried men. After adjusting for age, work, experience, education and other factors, the researchers concluded the productivity theory -- having a supportive partner -- is the reason behind married men's financial success.
Watson is one who believes both theories play a part.
While she believes the support she gave her husband as a stay-at-home spouse helped her husband advance in his career, she also said marrying someone with the ambition to succeed was an intentional decision.
"In the current economy, working as a team is one way to give yourself a real advantage," Watson said.
For Watson, she says her "light-bulb" moment came when she realized most couples could get a lot further working on enhancing one career rather than two.
Out of her research came her book, in which Watson describes a variety of ways to enhance a spouse's career and claims the methods can be used for either the husband or the wife.
Her suggestions include:
Truer words couldn't have been spoken, according to Matt Phelps, who plans to marry his fiancee in February.
Phelps has dated his "best friend," Daisy Wood, for the past seven years and, he said, without her, he couldn't have fulfilled his dream of opening his own business.
While he said he struggles to make it work by putting in 83-hour workweeks at his interactive gaming facility called Gamer HQ in Palm Bay, Phelps said Wood "provides me with several things that make me grow professionally.
"First, she made it a point to get to know the business so she can offer advise and I can talk to her about work-related issues. And, secondly, without her at home paying the bills, I'd probably be living at Gamer HQ."
In research conducted by Abbigail Chiodo and Michael Owyang, analysts at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, they found that, on average, married men make about 11 percent more than unmarried men, but also found divorced men earn about 9 percent more than never-married men. Their work, published in Regional Economist, was titled "For Love or Money: Why Married Men Make More."
They concluded the "selection hypothesis" offered the "most-compelling theory," but also said other issues could be at play, including employer discrimination.
This theory rests with the notion employers hire, promote and pay higher wages to men who are married, thinking men with families to support are more stable and responsible.
But Teri Domagalski, associate professor of human-resource management and organizational behavior at Florida Tech, said, Florida's Civil Rights Laws stipulates employers may not make a decision regarding an employee based on marital status.
"Now, does it happen? Yes, on some subconscious level, it probably does," Domagalski said. "But, these theories and assumptions based on stereotypes may or may not hold.
"Because, truthfully, a single man could be just as, if not more, responsible as a married man. It all depends."