Volume 36 - Article 29 | Pages 851–862

"Let’s talk about love": An analysis of the religious and economic factors determining the choice of marital property regime in Italy

By Gabriele Ruiu, Marco Breschi

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Date received:22 Dec 2016
Date published:17 Mar 2017
Word count:2497
Keywords:marital patrimonial system, marriage, religion


Background: In sociological literature, expectations about marriages’ duration are generally considered to be one of the main determinants in the pooling of economic resources between spouses. According to Catholic precepts, religious marriages are indissoluble, and Italy is characterized by a Catholic religious monopoly, with an anomalously high level of religious attendance for a developed country.

Objective: It may therefore be surmised that religious marriages should be characterized by a high propensity for opting for a pooled patrimonial system. Is this hypothesis confirmed by data?

Methods: We studied comprehensive data on all the marriages solemnized in Italy for the period 2007‒2009. We then use multivariate logistic regressions to assess which factors are associated with a greater propensity for opting for the pooled patrimonial system.

Results: We find that religious marriages are not characterized by a higher probability of wealth pooling with respect to civil marriages.

Contribution: To our knowledge, this is the first work to analyze the relationship between the choice of a religious marriage and the choice of the marital patrimonial system. We conclude that religious marriages in Italy do not reflect genuine adherence to the Catholic principle of the indissolubility of marriage.

Author's Affiliation

Gabriele Ruiu - Università degli Studi di Sassari (UniSS), Italy [Email]
Marco Breschi - Università degli Studi di Sassari (UniSS), Italy [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» For the times they are a changin': The respect for religious precepts through the analysis of the seasonality of marriages. Italy, 1862-2012.
Volume 33 - Article 7

» Fertility transition and social stratification in the town of Alghero, Sardinia (1866-1935)
Volume 30 - Article 28

» Patterns of reproductive behavior in transitional Italy: The rediscovery of the Italian fertility survey of 1961
Volume 29 - Article 44

» Demographic responses to short-term stress in a 19th century Tuscan population: The case of household out-migration
Volume 25 - Article 15

» Health and socio-demographic conditions as determinants of marriage and social mobility: Male partner choice in Sardinia, late 19th-early 20th century
Volume 22 - Article 33

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