Couple Formation in France: The Changing Importance of Labor Market Early Career Path
This article shows that couple formation and labor market early career path (as measured by unemployment, insecure employment, and characteristics of the first job) are intrinsically linked. We use data from the 1997 ‘Jeunes et Carrières’ survey to consider the experience of two different generations. We show that, with the arrival of mass unemployment, labor market early career path has become an important factor in couple formation, while the effect of education has diminished for young men in recent cohorts. The rise of the two-earner couple has gone hand-in-hand with greater symmetry between men and women in terms of couple formation: specifically, unemployment now reduces couple formation for both sexes. Some more traditional aspects persist however: (i) Women who are inactive on the labor market form couples earlier than do other women; (ii) Low wages in the first job encourage (discourage) couple formation for women (men); (iii) Higher education favors men's couple formation, but not that of working women; and (iv) Temporary work does not discourage couple formation by women. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002
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