The Dynamic Relationships between Role Specialization, Separation and Women’s Post-Separation Employment: A Life-History Analysis of 10 Countries
Maike van Damme, Tilburg University
Matthijs Kalmijn, Tilburg University
Women’s work is generally considered an important factor in explaining divorce risk. The specialization theory from Gary Becker is often used to explain this work effect. Women with little work experience are assumed to have higher economic costs to exit marriage. Using the Fertility and Family Surveys, we test in 18 countries to what extent women’s employment increases the risk of separation. We also more directly examine the role of economic exit costs in separation by investigating the effect of separated women’s work history during the union on women’s post-separation employment. The results imply that Becker’s theory has less explanatory power in gender egalitarian countries: The more gender equal a country, the less important economic exit costs (measured by women’s working hours) are in women’s decision to separate and the lower the effect of women’s work history during the union on women’s post-separation employment.
Presented in Session 102: Family Economic Relations