Men Are Getting Poorer Because The Traditional Household Is Dying

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Male earnings have dropped in recent years, but women are making more, slowly closing the wage gap.

In a New York Times article, MIT Professor David Autor says the “decline of men,” as Hanna Rosin put it in her popular book, has everything to do with the decline of the traditional household. 

The Times’ Binyamin Appelbaum reports that 63 per cent of children live in two-parent homes, compared to 82 per cent 40 years ago. Autor says that in single-parent homes, boys inherently have a bigger disadvantage, which stays with them for life:

The economic struggles of male workers are both a cause and an effect of the breakdown of traditional households. Men who are less successful are less attractive as partners, so women are choosing to raise children by themselves, producing sons who are less successful and attractive as partners.

“A vicious cycle may ensue,” wrote Professor Autor and his co-author, Melanie Wasserman, a graduate student, “with the poor economic prospects of less educated males creating differentially large disadvantages for their sons, thus potentially reinforcing the development of the gender gap in the next generation.”

The fall of men in the workplace is widely regarded by economists as one of the nation’s most important and puzzling trends. While men, on average, still earn more than women, the gap between them has narrowed considerably, particularly among more recent entrants to the labour force.

Autor’s position also coincides with new research saying men who marry younger make more money, where the opposite is true for women.

Read the full New York Times piece here.

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