Tisch, Daria ORCID: 0000-0002-2973-2008 (2021). Perceptions of Gender Wealth Inequalities within the Family. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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This dissertation examines the following research question: How do individuals perceive gender wealth inequalities within the family? In the three empirical studies, I tackle this question from two perspectives. On the one hand, the first study examines personal perceptions of inequality by analyzing with observational data how changes in the actual distribution of wealth within couples is related to changes in partners’ life satisfaction. On the other hand, the second study and the third study examine the public’s fairness perceptions of within-family wealth inequality. By means of multi-factorial survey experiments, these two studies examine under which conditions inequality in savings between partners and inequality in parental inter vivos transfers between siblings are justified. Thus, perceptions of gender wealth inequalities within the family are considered both from a general attitudinal perspective and a personal perspective of affected individuals. By showing that personal wealth within couples is related to partner’s life satisfaction and by identifying beliefs in gendered entitlements to wealth, the three studies provide novel evidence against the often made assumptions that all financial resources of the household are treated gender neutrally and each household member benefits equally from these resources. At least for women, the first study finds a significant positive relationship between changes in women’s relative wealth and life satisfaction, which is driven rather by changes in women’s own than in their partner’s absolute wealth. With experimental data, the second study shows that individuals’ fairness perceptions of within-couple inequality in savings are gendered, that is, depend on whom inequality favours. Whereas inequality in ownership of savings is rated fairer if it is in favour of the husband, inequality in control over savings is rated fairer if it is in favour of the wife. The third study shows that fairness perceptions of parental inter vivos transfers are gendered. We find evidence for beliefs that unemployment daughters are entitled to more transfers than unemployed sons but that daughters, who help in their parents’ household, are entitled to less transfers than helping sons. However, the studies also show that equality is an important principle within the family. The second study finds that equal control over savings is perceived as more important than equal ownership of savings to establish fairness in marriage. In addition, the third study finds wide-spread support for beliefs in allocating parental inter vivos equally between children. By showing that beliefs about equal sharing of wealth within the family finds support but also that personal wealth matters and that beliefs in gendered entitlements to wealth exist, this dissertation contextualizes the substantial gender wealth gap identified in prior research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Tisch, Dariatisch@mpifg.deorcid.org/0000-0002-2973-2008UNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-526977
Date: 27 July 2021
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Management, Economy and Social Sciences
Divisions: Weitere Institute, Arbeits- und Forschungsgruppen > Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology (ISS)
Subjects: Social sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Gender inequalityEnglish
Wealth inequalityEnglish
Family economicsEnglish
Date of oral exam: 19 July 2021
NameAcademic Title
Lersch, PhilippProf. Dr.
Leopold, ThomasProf. Dr.
Sauer, CarstenProf. Dr.
Funders: German Research Foundation (DFG) [LE 3612/2-1]
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/52697


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