Values shift, equity and divorce in Western Germany and in the United States

Daniela Bellani, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Gosta Esping-Andersen, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Léa Pessin, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

In principle, we should expect that an equitable division of paid and unpaid work should increase partnership stability because it represents balanced partner contributions to the relationship. And yet, we also observe intensified divorce propensities in tandem with the emergence of gender egalitarianism. Analyzing the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) for West Germany and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) for the United States, we examine whether dual earner couples become more stable as gender egalitarian values become increasingly dominant. Our analyses suggest that in both the Unites States and Western Germany, dual earner couples who adopt a gender symmetric division of work display greater stability in more recent marriage cohorts. Indeed, in the U.S. this couple arrangement has become the single most stable. Our findings provide an important empirical counterpoint to the gender construction perspective

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Presented in Session 29: Divorce and union dissolution 1