IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Marriage, Divorce and the Work and Earning Careers of Spouses

Listed author(s):
  • Lee Lillard
  • Linda Waite

    (Center on Aging, University of Chicago)

Registered author(s):

Social Security benefits depend on the employment and earnings history of the covered worker, but, especially for women, they depend on one’s marital history and the employment and earnings history of one’s spouse. This paper examines the interrelationship between marriage, divorce, employment and earnings of men and women. Since getting married (or getting divorced) tends to affect women’s employment choices differently than men’s, we consider the sexes separately. We estimate: (1) the impact of earnings, work hours and wages while unmarried on the likelihood of (re)marriage, (2) the effect of these measures of career success while married on the likelihood of divorce; (3) the effect of being married on men’s and women’s propensity to participate in the labor force, and conditional on participation, the effect of being married on earnings, wages and annual hours of work; for all these labor market outcomes we also assess the impact of the length of the marriage. Together, these results show a pattern of gender specialization in marriage, with men moving toward and women moving away from more intensive and extensive employment and the financial gain it brings. Success in the labor market while single increases the likelihood of marriage for men and decreases it for women. More work and greater financial rewards from work tend to stabilize marriage for men and destabilize marriage for women. Our results also show substantial change in the relationship between marital and employment careers for those born after WWII, but only for women. The employment careers of younger women are much less responsive to marriage than were those of their mothers or older sisters.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp003.

in new window

Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2000
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp003
Contact details of provider: Postal:
P.O. Box 1248, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone: (734) 615-0422
Fax: (734) 647-4575
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Bergstrom, Ted & Schoeni, Robert F, 1996. "Income Prospects and Age-at-Marriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(2), pages 115-130, May.
  2. Johnson, William R & Skinner, Jonathan, 1986. "Labor Supply and Marital Separation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 455-469, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp003. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (MRRC Administrator)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.