LONDON (Reuters) - Married men earn more than bachelors so long as their wives stay at home doing the housework, according to a report on Wednesday from Britain's Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER).
Academics Elena Bardasi and Mark Taylor found that a married man whose wife does not go out to work but is primarily responsible for the cooking and cleaning earns about 3 percent more than comparably employed single men.
But that wage premium disappears if wives go out to work themselves or don't do most of the housework.
"It has been fairly well documented that married men earn more than single men," Taylor, a labour economist, told Reuters.
"However, our research established the wage premium is related to the wife doing the chores," said the academic who teaches at the University of Essex.
He said analysis suggests there could be two explanations for the results:
A marriage might allow a husband and wife to focus their activities on tasks to which they are most suited. Traditionally, this would result in the man concentrating on paid work enabling him to increase productivity and in consequence his wages.
Taylor said another explanation could be that marriage may increase the amount of time a man has to hone work-related skills which could trigger higher wages.
Taylor and Bardasi analysed the hourly wages of 3,500 men who have been interviewed annually since 1991 as part of the British Household Panel Survey.
"We looked at all types of jobs from unskilled up to managers and professionals," Taylor said.