Employment Uncertainty and Divorce in Italy

Elena Bastianelli , Bocconi University
Daniele Vignoli, University of Florence

Economic uncertainty has been shown to affect family dynamics. The relation between employment uncertainty and divorce is far from been clearly understood, however. There is theoretical ambivalence about the direction of the effects at play. On the one side, economic instability may increase divorce through boosting the financial and psychological stress of couples; on the other, it may reduce divorce by rising its relative cost, or strengthening family bonds. This contribution aims at understanding the relation between employment uncertainty and divorce, distinguishing the effects of individual- and contextual-level measures of employment uncertainty, and disentangling differences between men and women life course. We employ event history techniques using micro data from the Italian survey Family and Social Subject of 2016, combined with time-series regional-level indicators on unemployment and temporary work conditions. Preliminary results show that the economic hardship deriving from unemployment conditions can generate stress, exacerbating discords within couples, and leading to a higher risk of separation. Moreover, men and women labor market participation has an opposite effect on their propensity to divorce, which seems to be anchored to traditional gender roles.

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 Presented in Session 100. Union Dissolution 2