Labor Market Attachment and Earnings among Cohabiting, Married and Single Individuals in Europe

Alicia Adsera, Princeton University

I use the ECHP Survey to analyze changes in hours of work and earnings among individuals in 15 European countries as they move between different marital status (including cohabitation). Married women reduce both hours and earnings but men and women in unions increase work earnings at the time of the transition. Labor division is weaker among European cohabitants than previously found for the US. I explore why controlling by hours closes the gap between married and cohabiting women in only some : selection (Southern Europe); discrimination;tax penalty. Finally it studies when changes in wages and hourly wages happen. Earnings for married women decrease precisely at the time of marriage; while those of cohabitants seem to increase even a bit before they move with their partners. This may be a way to be able to “afford” moving in with the spouse.

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Presented in Poster Session 6