Doctors used to marry nurses. Now doctors marry doctors.
So while husbands and wives have become more equal, inequality between families appears to be on the rise....
Women now earn about 60 percent of all graduate degrees in rich countries. Of course they are more likely to marry men of similar educational background; they meet them at college.Is this a problem for policymakers to solve? If so, what could they do? You can't tell people whom to marry. The linked article is in the NYT, so I expected more to be said about tweaking tax policy, but instead there was discussion of parenting classes in the UK. Isn't that odd? I'm going to infer that the NYT avoided talking tax policy because it didn't like what it would have to say.
Parenting classes have something to do with getting the next generation into better careers, but to focus on educating the young is to avoid dealing with the (perceived) problem of highly accomplished and hard-working males and females marrying each other and advancing their families at a much faster pace than in the past when women had better ability to follow the success strategy of "marrying up."
So let's talk about the tax fix the NYT presumably didn't want to talk about. It would have to penalize the 2-income family, especially where both spouses have high incomes. That is, it would have to incentivize the spouse of a high earner to opt out of her (or his) career. That might seem like a throwback to a time when women went to college to find a husband — as the old joke had it: to get her MRS degree. It would irritate many feminists, especially those who remember the modern women's movement as growing out of the perception that the stay-at-home-wife role is crushing and numbing.
Quite apart from taxing, you could create social pressure on high-earning couples to cut it out. They're being selfish. Let one move out of the career arena. Give up that great job to someone who is the sole earner in a family. Why are you taking more than your share for your family and disadvantaging others? You are part of the problem of income inequality. Step back!
Additional pressure could be applied in the form of environmentalism: Estimate the carbon footprint of the second spouse going to work. Also, there's a childhood obesity link: Estimate the average extra pounds-per-kid caused by not having a stay-at-home parent assembling healthful meals. Consider all the volunteer work this non-career spouse could do, particularly in schools, where they could tutor disadvantaged kids (and thereby improve equality). There's a lot of social pressure that could be applied to guilt-trip (or otherwise entice) that second spouse to stay home.
But I don't expect to see the NYT jump into that game.