Women's economic independence and risk of union disruption in Russia

Magdalena Muszynska, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

The aim of this presentation is to address the question if women’s economic activity influences the propensity to divorce in times of economic hardship and high uncertainty. In the last decades, women’s growing labor force participation in the developed countries has been accompanied by rise in divorce rates. As a result, the high risk of union disruption is often related to the growth in women’s earning potential. According to the ‘independence hypothesis’, if woman’s earnings are high enough to maintain a separate household, the economic gain of marriage for woman decreases. As a result both the propensity to marry, and the stability of unions decreases (Becker, 1991). The data comes from the Generation and Gender Survey conducted in Russia in 2004. We employ event-history models to analyze the risk of union disruption according to individual characteristics of a woman, among others those which approximate her (potential) earnings.

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Presented in Session 53: Marital dissolution