An unfortunate undercurrent in this discussion is the implication that women’s participation in the labor force has been a disappointing social development, hurting families and reducing marriage rates. And there is also the claim that many women are working because it takes two incomes to finance a middle-class life. This is Cass’s conclusion.
But this likely gets the causation backward. Take education as an example. Lots of factors affect its price. One is higher incomes. As a society gets richer, its willingness to spend on these services increases. And as the demand for education services goes up, driven by higher incomes, so does its price. (Indeed, Cass’s chart shows what single- and dual-earner households choose to buy, and compares it with what one male earner makes.) And we have already seen that male workers have experienced significant wage gains.