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ShortchangedWhy Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It$
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Mariko Lin Chang

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195367690

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367690.001.0001

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What’s Mine Is Yours?

(p.96) Six Marriage

Mariko Lin Chang

Oxford University Press

This chapter turns to the topic of wealth for married couples. Although it is often assumed that husbands and wives have equal ownership of marital wealth, the interview data suggest a complicated story. While a minority of couples share equal control over marital assets, most couples adopt other strategies. Some couples engage in voluntary specialization, delegating financial tasks in ways that appear to be gender neutral, but in fact leave men with more control over marital wealth. Other couples engage in voluntary separation, dividing money into three categories: his, hers, and ours. Ironically, each method of organizing marital finances can be reconciled with beliefs of fairness and equality between husbands and wives. The outcome, however, is that women are still less likely to have equal access to the financial resources of marriage.

Keywords:   married couples, marital wealth, organizing marital finances, voluntary specialization, equal ownership

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