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Economic determinants of divorce among dual-earner couples: Jews in Israel

  • Liat Raz-Yurovich

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

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    How relevant are the available theoretical perspectives on marriage dissolution for understanding modern family forms? By employing a unique set of longitudinal register-based data for the Jewish population in Israel, this study seeks to find out which of the major theoretical perspectives on economic determinants of divorce best explains the transition to divorce among dual-earner couples. Our findings appear to support theories that assert asymmetry and power relations between the spouses. The women's economic independence hypothesis is not confirmed by our results, which indicate that the wife’s earnings do not affect divorce risk. In line with theories of income pooling, higher shared salaries are found to increase marital stability. Nonetheless, our results demonstrate that the basic assumption of symmetry between the spouses in these theories does not hold. Although employment stability for both spouses appears to reduce divorce risk, only the husband’s salary is shown to negatively affect the odds of divorce, and only the wife’s working hours and sector of employment are found to positively affect marriage instability. Moreover, couples in which the wife earns as much as or more than the husband are found to have the highest divorce risk.

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    File URL: http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&id=doi:10.1007/s10680-012-9256-3
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    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2011-008.

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    Length: 38 pages
    Date of creation: May 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2011-008
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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    1. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," CEPR Discussion Papers 6144, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens, 2004. "Job Displacement, Disability, and Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 489-522, April.
    3. Lillard, L.A. & Waite, L.J., 1993. "A Joint Model of Marital Childbearing and Marital Disruption," Papers 93-02, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    4. William Nilsson, 2008. "Unemployment, Splitting up, and Spousal Income Replacement," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(1), pages 73-106, 03.
    5. Martin Dribe & Maria Stanfors, 2010. "Family life in power couples," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 23(30), pages 847-878, November.
    6. Jensen, Peter & Smith, Nina, 1990. "Unemployment and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 215-29, October.
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