The changing educational gradient in marital disruption: A meta-analysis of European longitudinal research
A large number of empirical studies have investigated the role of education in the changes in union dissolution in Europe, but these studies have so far produced inconsistent results. This paper seeks to assess the relationship between educational attainment and the incidence of marital dissolution by systematizing the existing empirical evidence on the topic. To this end, we have conducted a quantitative literature review (a meta-analysis). This review allowed us to assess the relationship in a quantitative manner and to investigate its temporal change, net of the across-study differences. Our results illustrated that a reversal in the educational gradient from positive to negative has occurred over time. The findings also showed that the change in the educational gradient was happening in parallel to an increase in access to divorce. Finally, the findings suggested that women’s empowerment has played a greater role in explaining the changing educational gradient of divorce than the liberalization of divorce laws.
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