Research mostly in the context of developed economies shows that the transformation of household structure from single male breadwinner families to dual earner families is associated with decreasing rates of poverty as well as lower levels of income inequality. This paper uses micro data from Turkish household income and budget surveys for 2003 and 2010 to examine to what extent household labor supply structure has an impact on family income, poverty and income inequality. We classify married couple households by labor supply of husbands and wives and explore any differentials in household income levels, poverty rates as well as income inequality measures amongst dual earner versus male breadwinner households. We also use counterfactual household labor supply structures to explore the potential changes in poverty risk as families transform from single male breadwinner to dual earner families. Given the phenomenally low female labor force participation rate in Turkey, one of the lowest in the world, a structural characteristic of most countries in the Middle East, we show that increasing female employment has strong potential not only in terms of gender equality but also as a sustainable strategy against poverty.
Topics in Middle Eastern and North African Economies, electronic journal, Volume 15, Middle East Economic Association and Loyola University Chicago, September, 2013, http://www.luc.edu/orgs/meea/
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