When equity matters for marital stability: Comparing German and U.S. couples

Abstract

none3siComparing West Germany and the U.S., we analyze the association between equity—in terms of the relative gender division of paid and unpaid work hours—and the risk of marriage dissolution. Our aim is to identify under what conditions equity influences couple stability. We apply event-history analysis to marriage histories using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel for West Germany and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics for the U.S. for the period 1986–2009/10. For the U.S., we find that deviation from equity is particularly destabilizing when the wife underbenefits, especially when both partners’ paid work hours are similar. In West Germany, equity is less salient. Instead, we find that the male breadwinner model remains the single most stable couple arrangement.mixedBellani D.; Esping Andersen G.; Pessin L.Bellani D.; Esping Andersen G.; Pessin L

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