Men holding the view that women should stay at home earn more than men who don't. But women with more egalitarian views don't take home much more than their traditional counterparts.
Timothy Judge and Beth Livingston of University of Florida analysed data from a nationally representative study of men and women who were interviewed four times between 1979 and 2005.
Some 12,686 people, aged between 14 and 22 at the beginning of the study, participated, even as 60 percent remained with the study.
At each of the four interviews, participants were asked about their views on gender roles in the work force and at home. They answered questions such as whether they believed a woman's place is in the home, whether employing wives leads to more juvenile delinquency, if the woman should take care of the home and family.
Participants were also asked about their earnings, religious upbringing, education, whether they worked outside the home and their marital status, in addition to other topics. Prior studies have shown that men tend to hold more traditional gender roles than do women, though this gap has narrowed over time, reports Eurekalert.
The researchers looked specifically at gender role views as a predictor of a person's earnings. They controlled for job complexity, number of hours worked and education.
Their analyses showed that men in the study who said they had more traditional gender role attitudes made an average of about $8,500 more annually than those who had less traditional attitudes.
"More traditional people may be seeking to preserve the historical separation of work and domestic roles. Our results prove that is, in fact, the case," Judge said. "This is happening even in today's work force where men and women are supposedly equal as far as participation."
For women, however, the situation was reversed. Women who held more traditional views about gender roles made an average of $1,500 less annually than the women with more egalitarian views.
Put another way, if a married couple holds traditional gender role attitudes, the husband's earning advantage was predicted to be eight times greater than a married couple where the husband and wife have more egalitarian attitudes.
Judge said "when workers' attitudes become more traditional, women's earnings relative to men suffer greatly. When attitudes become more egalitarian, the pay gap nearly disappears."
These findings were published in the September issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.