Labour market insecurity and union dissolution in Italy

Elena Chincarini, BAGSS, University of Bamberg

Under the pressure of globalization, European countries have started to de-regulate their rigid employment structure (Baribieri and Scherer, 2009; Blossfeld et al., 2012). In the Italian context this has lead to the creation of two-tiered labour market with highly protected workers with permanent jobs and less protected workers with fix-term jobs. Although recent literature has extensively addressed how an insecure position in the labour market hinders the family formation process and the transition to parenthood, few empirical studies have focused on the spillover of labour market instability on union dissolution. Therefore, this study aims to clarify the impact of partners’ non-employment and temporary occupation on the dissolution of marriage and cohabitation in the Italian context. Along with the highly segmented nature and instability of labour market, the unsupported familism and the recent increase in divorce and cohabitation rates makes Italy a suitable case of study. According to classical theories of divorce, male non-employment and fixed-term position are expected to prompt the likelihood of union dissolution, due to economic and psychological deprivations as well to the societal stigma attached to labour market outsiders. Conversely, female unstable position should have less influence on the risk of dissolution due to the secondary importance of women’s paid and stable work for the household economy in the male bread winner Italian context. Empirically, retrospective data from the 2009 wave of Multipurpose Survey (Families and Social Subjects) by ISTAT are analyzed with discrete time event history analysis models. While male job loss and temporary job increase the divorce risk, female unstable position displays the contrary effect. Moreover, significant gender differences among cohabitation are not found. Both partners’ non-employment increases the likelihood of cohabitation dissolution since cohabiting partners have more equal division of powers and gender models compared to married couples (Bianchi et al., 2014).

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Presented in Poster Session 3