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Marital disruption in Germany: Does the conservative welfare state care? Changes in material well-being and the effects of private and public transfers

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  • Hans-Jürgen Andreß
  • Miriam Bröckel

Abstract

This paper analyzes the economic consequences of marital disruption in Germany with data from the German Socio-Economic Panel. Based on partnership dissolutions observed in the years 1984-1999, we find clear gender inequalities among the separating men and women. As a result of the changes in household composition, support payments, employment and residential mobility, women, on average, end up with much lower disposable household incomes than during marriage, especially when taking into account the number of dependents. The data show that own economic activity and public transfers are the main income sources, while support payments from the former spouse play only a minor role. Apparently, a conservative but generous welfare state like Germany attenuates the most severe economic consequences of marital disruption. However, since further increases in public spending are not a viable strategy, public policies to increase female employment are needed to insure women against the economic risks of marriage dissolution.

Suggested Citation

  • Hans-Jürgen Andreß & Miriam Bröckel, 2007. "Marital disruption in Germany: Does the conservative welfare state care? Changes in material well-being and the effects of private and public transfers," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(2), pages 193-226.
  • Handle: RePEc:aeq:aeqsjb:v127_y2007_i2_q2_p193-226
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard V. Burkhauser & Michaela Kreyenfeld & Gert G. Wagner, 1997. "The German Socio-Economic Panel: A Representative Sample of Reunited Germany and its Parts," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 66(1), pages 7-16.
    2. Ed Diener, 1994. "Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 103-157, February.
    3. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J & Masterov, Dimitriy V, 2005. "Labor Market Discrimination and Racial Differences in Premarket Factors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 1-39, April.
    4. Kevin Denny & Vincent O'sullivan, 2007. "Can education compensate for low ability? Evidence from British data," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(9), pages 657-660.
    5. Richard V. Burkhauser & Dean R. Lillard, 2005. "The Contribution and Potential of Data Harmonization for Cross-National Comparative Research," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 486, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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    1. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:37 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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