Boertien, D., & Bouchet-Valat, M. (2022). Are increasing earnings associations between partners of concern for inequality? A comparative study of 21 countries. Social Forces, 101(2), 639-664.

Partners increasingly resemble each other in terms of earnings acrossWestern countries. These increases in earnings similarity are oftenconsidered to be drivers behind growing income inequality between households.We argue that increases in earnings similarity do not necessarily lead toaugmented inequality between households. Their overall effect depends onwhether and how the processes that increase earnings similarity affectinequality through other pathways. Using data from the Luxembourg IncomeStudy on 21 countries, we decompose changes over time in earnings inequality.We show that even though the correlation in earnings between partnersincreased in most countries, this only amplified inequality on someoccasions. In several countries, increases in the earnings correlation aredriven by general changes in employment rates. Given that these increases inemployment equalized earnings across households through other pathways, theinherently connected increases in the earnings correlation are of lessconcern from an inequality perspective. In other countries, where increasesin earnings similarity are produced by augmented similarity in earnings amongdual-breadwinner couples or by selective changes in employment, increases inearnings similarity are of more concern for inequality between households.