When equity matters for marital stability: Comparing German and U.S. couples

Daniela Bellani, Gøsta Esping Andersen, Léa Pessin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Comparing West Germany and the U.S., we analyze the association between equity—in terms of the relative gender division of paid and unpaid work hours—and the risk of marriage dissolution. Our aim is to identify under what conditions equity influences couple stability. We apply event-history analysis to marriage histories using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel for West Germany and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics for the U.S. for the period 1986–2009/10. For the U.S., we find that deviation from equity is particularly destabilizing when the wife underbenefits, especially when both partners’ paid work hours are similar. In West Germany, equity is less salient. Instead, we find that the male breadwinner model remains the single most stable couple arrangement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1273-1298
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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