Essays on the economic and social demography of households

Pearl Kyei, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation in multi-paper format, studies three aspects of the demography of households. The first paper explores the pathways through which female headship positively influences educational outcomes using data on Black South African households from the Cape Area Panel Study. I hypothesize that supplementary economic resources, child-oriented resource allocation and social support are the main explanations for the female headship advantage. The findings indicate that external transfers to female-headed households allow them to compensate somewhat for their socio-economic disadvantage while non-monetary support from extended family members provide the additional resources that positively affect child outcomes. In the second paper, pooled data from the 2000 Census and 2001 to 2007 American Community Surveys are used to determine whether a parenthood wage gap, comparable to that for heterosexual parents, exists for same-sex unmarried partners (SSUP). I hypothesize that there would be differences in the parenthood gaps by partnership type because same-sex parents are a more select group, specialize to a lesser extent than two-sex couples and may face different discrimination than heterosexual parents. The results show a significant wage premium for White female SSUP full-time workers with dependent children, contradicting what is generally known about the motherhood wage penalty. For other SSUP groups, the wage differences are not significant. The final paper determines whether failure to consider the bans on gay marriage bias estimates of the gay pay gap. I use data on partnered workers from the 2000 census to estimate wage differentials between married and unmarried same-sex (SSUP) workers focusing on the effects of marriage arising from specialization, selection and discrimination. The results confirm that not accounting for marriage underestimates the pay gap for men and overestimates that for women. I find influences on the gap of selection (using prior marriage to represent marriage selectivity) and specialization (using allocation of household paid work hours to represent intensity of labor market specialization) but no conclusive evidence on the influence of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (using state variation in workplace anti-discrimination policy).^

Subject Area

GLBT Studies|Sociology, Demography

Recommended Citation

Kyei, Pearl, "Essays on the economic and social demography of households" (2010). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3447489.