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Women’s employment makes unions more stable, if the male partners contribute to the unpaid household work

Letizia Mencarini () and Daniele Vignoli ()

No 2014_06, Econometrics Working Papers Archive from Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti"

Abstract: A new generation of studies has called into question standard microeconomic predictions of a positive association between women’s economic independence and union dissolution, and suggests that it is necessary to include information about both partners’ contributions to paid and unpaid work when conducting empirical tests of the impact of women’s employment on union stability. In this study, we follow this strand of research and use data on couples from the 2003 and 2007 waves of the Italian “Family and Social Subject” survey, with the aim of investigating whether and how the gender division of labor channels the causal impact of women’s employment on union disruption. Utilizing techniques of mediation analysis, we suggest that women’s employment does not have a negative effect per se on union stability, and that women’s paid work becomes detrimental to the stability of the union only if the male partner’s contribution to unpaid work is scarce. We found that the impact of women’s employment on union dissolution is positive only when 70% or more of the housework is performed by women.

Keywords: Marital dissolution; Women's employment; Men's contribution to unpaid work; Italy; Mediation analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J00 J12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 23 pages
Date: 2014-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-eur and nep-lab
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