Do birds of a feather flock together? Effects of socio-economic homogamy on divorce risks in Sweden 1960-1962

Glenn Sandström, Umeå University

This paper analyzes a range of determinants of divorce during the 1960s when the labor force participation of married women increased more rapidly than during any other period of the twentieth century using an extensive dataset covering the entire married population in Swe-den. The study applies a binary model where the couples are analyzed as units rather then separate individuals to uncover how socio-economic difference and similarity within the cou-ple influenced marriage stability during the years 1960-1962. The main results show that the rapid economic restructuring and change in provider model did contribute to the large de-crease in marriage stability during this period in Sweden. Dual provider families exhibit on average twice the divorce probability as compared to couples were the wife was a home-maker. A difference between the results reached in this study and divorce research covering later decades is that children do not reduce the probability of divorce when the labor force participation of the wife is controlled for. The results indicate that the determinants of divorce may have varied across different phases of the divorce transition during the twentieth century and that a historical perspective is necessary if we are to understand the long-term process that have produced current marital behavior.

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Presented in Poster Session 2