Female breadwinning and domestic abuse: evidence from Australia

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    We explore the relationship between heterosexual partners’ relative income and the incidence of both domestic violence and emotional abuse. Using Australian data drawn from society-wide surveys, we find women who earn more than their male partners are subject to a 33% increase in partner violence and a 20% increase in emotional abuse compared to mean levels. We show the relationship between relative spouse income and female partner abuse is best modelled by a binary variable that captures “female breadwinning.” This finding differs from those of some earlier studies that considered only serious abuse and found a continuous negative relationship between female partners’ relative income and abuse. Instead, our findings suggest a mechanism related to gender norms generating domestic violence. We find no link between relative income and abuse of male partners.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2925–2965
    JournalJournal of Population Economics
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Cite this