Volume 32 - Article 34 | Pages 949–982  

Stratified patterns of divorce: Earnings, education, and gender

By Amit Kaplan, Anat Herbst-Debby

Abstract

Background: Despite evidence that divorce has become more prevalent among weaker socioeconomic groups, knowledge about the stratification aspects of divorce in Israel is lacking. Moreover, although scholarly debate recognizes the importance of stratificational positions with respect to divorce, less attention has been given to the interactions between them.

Objective: Our aim is to examine the relationship between social inequality and divorce, focusing on how household income, education, employment stability, relative earnings, and the intersection between them affect the risk of divorce in Israel.

Methods: The data is derived from combined census files for 1995-2008, annual administrative employment records from the National Insurance Institute and the Tax Authority, and data from the Civil Registry of Divorce. We used a series of discrete-time event-history analysis models for marital dissolution.

Results: Couples in lower socioeconomic positions had a higher risk of divorce in Israel. Higher education in general, and homogamy in terms of higher education (both spouses have degrees) in particular, decreased the risk of divorce. The wife’s relative earnings had a differential effect on the likelihood of divorce, depending on household income: a wife who outearned her husband increased the log odds of divorce more in the upper tertiles than in the lower tertile.

Conclusions: Our study shows that divorce indeed has a stratified pattern and that weaker socioeconomic groups experience the highest levels of divorce. Gender inequality within couples intersects with the household’s economic and educational resources.

Author's Affiliation

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