“Bad Jobs” for Marriage: Job Quality and the Risk of Divorce

So-Jung Lim, Utah State University

Using National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, this study examines the relationship between job quality and marital dissolution. Built upon the growing body of literature on “bad jobs” and labor market changes, I incorporate several indicators of job quality, including the provision of health and pension benefits, nonstandard work schedules, and part-time employment. Results from discrete-time hazard models show that the characteristics and quality of employment is not associated with marital instability for men once education and income are controlled for. On the contrary, non-employed women have lower risk of divorce than employed women and if women are working in jobs without health insurance and receive health insurance coverage from husbands’ employment, the likelihood of divorce significantly decreases. These results imply that reliance on a husband’s health insurance may signal important economic benefits from marriage, which have stabilizing effects on marriage.

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Presented in Session 143: Employment, Unions, and Fertility: New Findings