Union Disruption: The Effect of Homogamy and the Division of Housework on the Gendered Nature of Divorce
Martinez Perez, Alvaro
INSTUTE FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH UNIVERSITY ESSEX/JUAN MARCH INSTITUTE COLCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM
The paper investigates the effect of assortative mating and the share of housework over marriage on the gendered nature of divorce using Discrete-Time EHA applied to the sample of couples drawn from the BHPS. Several competing theories and models are reviewed and discussed which connect the division of the chores in the couple and educational homogamy with the stability of the relationship. Since the main interest of the chapter lies on unrevealing whether the spouses are affected differently by the patterns of assortative mating and the division of housework over marriage in their decision to end the union a especial attention is paid on the mechanisms that may explain a different propensity of breaking up for wives and husbands. Results suggest that there are, indeed, clear gender differences in the likelihood of divorce when educational homogamy and the (un)equal share of housework are considered. Wives appear to be more sensitive to the division of housework over marriage while men attach more importance to a high quality match measured by the educational attainment of the spouses. Interestingly, gender differences are mitigated when the conditional effect of partners´ education on the division of housework is explored. In this case, both wives and husbands seem to benefit from assortative mating. These results confirm, on one hand, that partners have different expectations from the relationship, and, on the other hand, that assortative mating patterns extend their influence over the course of marriage shaping the quality of life of the spouses and affecting the stability of the union.