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Unlucky at work, unlucky in love: job loss and marital stability

Carina Keldenich () and Christine Luecke
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Carina Keldenich: Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
Christine Luecke: Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg

Review of Economics of the Household, 2022, vol. 20, issue 1, No 10, 243-278

Abstract: Abstract This paper analyses the relationship between a husband’s job loss and marital stability, focusing on involuntary employment terminations due to plant closures or dismissals. Using discrete survival analysis techniques on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we find plant closures and dismissals to be associated with a 54 and 74% higher risk of marital dissolution respectively, though the strength of association varies significantly by how long ago the change in employment status occurred. We extend the previous literature by considering heterogeneity in the relationship depending on whether new employment was found. Our analysis shows that the dissolution risk remains elevated even in couples where the husband has taken up a new position. Surprisingly, the relative risk of dissolution following the first period in a new job after a job loss is about the same as the relative risk of dissolution following the first period without employment. The relationship between finding a new job and marital dissolution appears to be mediated by changes in working hours as well as wages. In two extensions, we also consider the role of the wife’s employment status in moderating the relationship and show that a wife’s job loss is not associated with a similar increase in the probability of divorce as a husband’s.

Keywords: Marriage; Job loss; Divorce; Dismissal; Plant closure; J12; J63; J65 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s11150-020-09506-x

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