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Within household inequalities across classes? Money management and income Jerome De Henau and Fran Bennett GeNet conference: Gender, class, employment.

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Presentation on theme: "Within household inequalities across classes? Money management and income Jerome De Henau and Fran Bennett GeNet conference: Gender, class, employment."— Presentation transcript:

1 Within household inequalities across classes? Money management and income Jerome De Henau and Fran Bennett GeNet conference: Gender, class, employment & family City University London March 2008

2 2 GeNet project 5: : Within Household Inequalities and Public Policywww.genet.ac.uk Researchers: Fran Bennett, Sue Himmelweit, Holly Sutherland, Jerome De Henau, Sirin Sung Not ‘mixed methods’ project, but multi-method, with joint working throughout Presentation draws on analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data to date Introduction

3 3 The family is a key site of distribution (of resources, time and labour), but is often a ‘black box’ which is not investigated and in which equality is assumed Aims: –To explore alternative approaches to understanding the behavioural and distributional impact of policy change which take account of gender inequalities in power and influence within the household –To use such approaches to analyse the effects of actual and potential changes in fiscal, social security and associated labour market policies Objectives of the project

4 4 Quantitative research –Money management across class and income –Management vs control across classes –Disagreement over final say in big financial decisions Qualitative research –Investigating some issues arising from the broad quantitative picture (focus on low/moderate income couples) –Money management patterns –Jointness vs individualism: finance –Management vs control Outline of the paper

5 5 Recent research: changes in work, family and household economy (leading to more individualism and/or equality?) Our focus: low/moderate income couples in (mostly) long- standing relationships Claim that women are now ‘taking control of family finances’ (Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, March 2008), based on analysis of who has final say Female final say more likely in working class households - is female control more nominal than real? (Vogler et al 08) Background to findings

6 6 Relationship between types of money management and final say in big financial decisions Explaining unequal and gendered final say –Intra-household characteristics Comparing with 2005 Comparing low income with high income Explaining conflicting views on final say Providing a broad picture to feed qualitative analysis Quantitative analysis: aims

7 7 BHPS – comparing waves 1-5 and 15 Couples of working age with or without children Data on money management categories and on final say in big financial decisions Explanatory factors of financial control (final say): –Household income –Educational level –Age –Share of household income –Employment status (women) and Occupation (men) –Gender role attitudes (aggregated indices) –Whether married or not –Money management style –Children Data and sample

8 8 Type of money management: –Woman looks after all money (except partner’s personal spending money) –Man looks after all money –Woman receives housekeeping allowance –All money is jointly managed (pooled) –Some money is pooled –Complete separate management Money management

9 9 Female management associated with –low income (and with high proportion of income from benefits) –low educational level (either partner) –high female share of income (in turn associated with low income) Male management / housekeeping allowance associated with –Female low education (only 2005) –Woman not in employment –Male high share of income Partial pooling and separate management associated with –higher income quintiles –higher educational levels (both partners) –female full-time work –no income from benefits –and higher female share of income Money management (univariate)

10 10 Final say in big financial decisions Increase in female control over the period (according to both respondents)

11 11 Final say in big financial decisions Female and joint management increase female control over the period Gendered unequal association between sole control and sole management Disagreement over female control if separate/independent management

12 12 Multivariate analysis Check whether management styles still explain some variation in final say across income levels, employment statuses, etc. Selection of couples who give the same answer on final say Multinomial logistic regression Two periods: (5068 obs.) and 2005 (1496 obs.)

13 13 Results (1) – agreement, two periods More female say if: –Female share of income>60% (only 2005) –Lowest income quintile (compared with 2/5) (no change) –Female whole wage / pooled female managed (more so in 2005) –Man does not work / or lower occupational status (only 91-95) More male say if: –Male (and female) share of income>60% (but only 91-95) –Traditional couple (“family suffers if woman works”) (no change) –Larger age difference (m>f) (no change) –Male whole wage / pooled male managed (no change) More equal say if: –Woman highly educated (more so in 2005) –Older average age (no change)  More variation in factors affecting female say than male say

14 14 Results (2) – low vs high income More female say if: –Female whole wage / pooled female managed (more so for low) –Partial pooling (only high) –Female or male not employed (only low) More male say if: –Male share of income>60% (more so for high) –Female not employed (only high) –Male whole wage (more so for low) Note: female whole wage much more associated with female control than male whole wage with male control (esp. low income and 2005)

15 15 Results (3) – Disagreements Apparent symmetry in opposite claims by male respondents, but Asymmetry in opposite claims by female respondents

16 16 Results (3) – Disagreements Higher income quintiles increase likelihood of agreement (better knowledge? But no impact of education) Age increase likelihood of disagreement with slightly more tendency to give more say to partner than to self Disagreement in management system is highly associated with disagreement in final say (especially female/male pooled managed) Male whole wage also associated with disagreement (more to partner than to self, in 91-95)

17 17 Discussion Determinants of control are asymmetric by gender Money management and control are highly associated, but difficult to find out what type of control it really is (necessity or discretionary power?) Some slight evidence that meaning of control differs between income quintiles (inactive women have more say in low income couples, opposite if high income) Equal say favoured by joint management, higher levels of female education and of income, as well as for older couples (practices or ideology?) Disagreements on control associated with low income and with disagreement on management and male whole wage (  different understanding or true claims?)

18 18 Overall: uncover within-household processes; identify indicators of intra-household division of power and well- being and suggest possible relationships to test in quantitative research, with view to investigating gendered impact of recent and potential fiscal policy changes This exercise: to examine money management in low/ moderate income couples, in the light of both recent trends (towards more individualistic practices and ideas of equality) and previous findings (on female management in low-income families not resulting in real control) Qualitative research: aims

19 19 Semi-structured, separate interviews with members of 30 low/moderate income couples Time-limited sample from BHPS/ECHP (booster), interviewed last for this purpose in 2001 Heterosexual (white) couples, mostly at least one of working age, who have had child/ren at some point In England, Wales, Scotland (not N Ireland) If possible, in receipt of means-tested benefits/tax credits now and/or in past Sample

20 20 Continuity of traditional gendered patterns Idea of women’s role changed less (Vogler et al 2008) Men’s income (seen) as family income, male non-interference with woman’s own income: ambiguous implications for women Separate spheres/gendered spending: joint managing may mean ‘I’m bills, she’s food’ (altered by female salaried jobs?) Joint vs individual accounts not good indicator of patterns of money management – e.g. 8 couples had no joint account, but their degree of jointness varied (eg couple swapping wages) Money management

21 21 Strong loyalty to mutuality and family unit displayed by sample (running counter to growth of individualism?) Drivers to jointness are strong in this sample: –low/moderate income (put money together to make it stretch) –children as joint project –couples have stayed together Language about jointness (used by men) – e.g. how decisions are made: ‘I run it through her first’; about wife: is ‘part of me’ Women in sample were more aware of tensions (e.g. how jointness may limit autonomy) Language about autonomy (used by women) – e.g. ‘never saw myself hand in hand with someone else financially’; ‘anyone listening to me would think we were attached at the hip’ Jointness vs individualism: finances

22 22 Low income families: literature suggests management day to day is not same as control (power) (e.g. Goode et al 1998) Poverty and Social Exclusion Millennium Survey: women with control suffer deprivation, but those without control worry Women’s (constrained) use of agency is relevant to control: –his responsibility (controlling male): she avoids blame –her responsibility: she avoids having to ask (rates autonomy) and/or avoids having to worry (rates control over money) Some seem to use ‘control’ to describe their management Some women have control when managing by themselves Management vs control

23 23 Final say on big financial decisions + access to/management of joint accounts + if personal spending has to be justified Final say: more people said joint; about twice as many said man had final say as said woman did More couples had different answers than had same answers Answers depended on e.g.: what item (relative knowledge/ strength of feeling); whether item is affordable/not is a different decision from whether to buy; who has to find money to buy it But women give men pocket money, buy their clothes for them, use the men’s PINs/cards... Indicators of control (1)

24 24 Access to joint account: mostly both; 1 only in some couples (usually woman, deals with cash); some women reluctant to draw from it (esp if own children from past relationship?) Management of joint account: mostly say both manage; if male/female, may be linked to (in)capacity, and/or to management/control? (some couples have no joint account) Justifying personal spending: mostly both say they don’t; but some do - perhaps especially in more conflicted couples, or with strong female/male control? - but not having to justify can mean 1 person spending more joint money on self and - on these income levels personal spending may be severely limited and/or mostly for others, especially for some women Indicators of control (2)

25 25 Issues/questions arising Different understandings of ‘big financial decisions’ + ‘final say’ (+ personal spending + money management systems)? All money management systems comprise spectrum of practices, not just independent management/partial pooling What is control - multi-faceted/process? What are policy implications of findings? Separate interviews mean contradictory answers: ‘doing couple’ (Stocks et al (eds) 2007) - investigate using discourse analysis?

26 26 Thank you for your attention Any question?

27 27 Appendix - results (1)

28 28 Appendix - results (2)

29 29 Appendix – results (3)

30 30 Appendix – results (4)

31 31 Appendix – results (5)

32 32 Appendix – results (6)


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