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Are spouses more satisfied than cohabitors? A survey over the last twenty years in Italy

Elena Pirani () and Daniele Vignoli ()
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Elena Pirani: Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti", Università di Firenze, http://local.disia.unifi.it/pirani/

No 2014_09, Econometrics Working Papers Archive from Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti"

Abstract: On the social landscape of the high-middle-income countries, unmarried cohabitation has become an increasingly popular living arrangement over the last decades. Several observers have noted a “cohabitation gap” in the satisfaction assessment of partners, with cohabitors being less satisfied than marrieds, and they advanced the hypothesis that this difference depends on how far cohabitation has diffused within a society. For the first time we test this hypothesis across time within one country – Italy – analyzing 18 progressive harmonized large-scale datasets collected continuatively since 1994 by the Italian Institute of Statistics. We employ a multilevel model to study 252,732 partnered young adults, nested in 19 regions and 18 years. Our findings support the hypothesis that as time passes and cohabitation becomes a more popular phenomenon, the difference in family satisfaction assessment between Italian cohabitors and spouses progressively weakens and, as observed in recent years, finally vanishes.

Keywords: Cohabitation; Marriage; Family satisfaction; Diffusion process. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J12 D10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem and nep-eur
Date: 2014-09
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