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The Reversal of the Gender Gap in Education and Relative Divorce Risks: A Matter of Alternatives in Partner Choice?

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Recent evidence suggests that the reversal of the gender gap in education was associated with changes in relative divorce risks: marriages in which the wife was more educated than the husband used to have a higher divorce risk than when the husband was more educated, but this difference disappeared. One interpretation holds that this might result from cultural change, involving increasing social acceptance of hypogamy. We propose an alternative mechanism that need not presuppose cultural change: the gender-gap reversal in education has changed the availability of alternatives from which highly educated women and men might choose new partners. This may have lowered the likelihood that women leave husbands with less education and stimulated men to leave less educated spouses. We applied an agent-based model to 12 European national marriage markets to illustrate that such a change in the available alternatives might be sufficient to explain the convergence in divorce risks.
Journal: Population Studies: A Journal of Demography
ISSN: 0032-4728
Issue: sup1
Volume: 71
Pages: 15 - 34
Publication year:2017
BOF-publication weight:1
CSS-citation score:2
Authors from:Higher Education