Intra-Household Sharing and Financial Satisfaction of Swiss Couples

21.05.2019 - 17:15 to 18:45
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB A-Kolloquium
Dr. Nevena Kulic
Lecturer affiliation: 
European University Institute, Florence

There is a difference between who brings in income, who spends and manages money, and who finally benefits. All these aspects are important in determining how satisfied spouses are with their individual financial situation. Focusing on the Swiss context, this paper aims to study to what extent individual satisfaction with the financial situation in Swiss households is associated with the relative earnings of the partners, the role of both partners in the management of economic resources within the household and the gender dimension of such relations. We test our questions in a longitudinal framework with fixed effects panel models using ten waves of the Swiss Household Panel (from 2004 to 2013, N=1810 couples). Management regimes such as male, female management of finances, joint and separate money management as well as the relative earnings of the partners are the core variables of our analysis. Three interesting findings emerge. First, it matters who brings income into the households; results show that a change in the composition of total income in favour of women directly increases their financial satisfaction, net of the level of household income, while men’s financial satisfaction increases up to the point at which women earn more than one third of the total income. Second, it matters who manages the money; money management is also a sign of power within the household, as some systems of money management more than others reflect the breadwinning role of men and women. Interestingly, we find that a woman’s level of satisfaction with the financial situation increases when the couple’s management is independent, and characterized by individual control over their own income and separate responsibility for expenditure. Contrary to this, men’s control over finances through male management increases their financial satisfaction. Third, income and management regimes interact; the relative impact of women’s contributions depends on the type of money management in the household, and the gains for women are greatest when separate money management is employed. Opposing this, the relative decline in male financial satisfaction due to higher woman’s income share is lowest when men are those who manage the finances. The results are discussed in the context of traditional gender norms in the Swiss Society.