Marriage, Gender, and Class : The Effects of Partner Resources on Unemployment Exit in Germany

Faculty/Professorship: Longitudinal Education Research  
Author(s): Jacob, Marita; Kleinert, Corinna  
Title of the Journal: Social forces : SF; an international journal of social research associated with the Southern Sociological Society
ISSN: 0037-7732
Publisher Information: Oxford : Oxford Univ. Press
Year of publication: 2014
Volume: 92
Issue: 3
Pages: 839-871
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1093/sf/sot130
Research on social inequality and the family has indicated that partners are relevant to individuals’ labor market decisions. Unemployment is a particularly interesting issue in the partnership context because the ensuing loss of income may affect the entire family. Against this background, we examine how singles and couples differ in terms of unemployment duration and how a partner’s income and labor market–related resources influence re-employment. Considering the gender and class differences in labor market participation, we are particularly interested in variations in partner support between men and women in differing economic circumstances. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), we find that cohabitation accelerates re-employment, whereas marriage increases the prospect of reemployment only for men. More specifically, the partner’s labor market resources facilitate re-employment. Although partner income has no effect in absolute terms, unemployed men and women who were formerly minor earners refrain from re-entering paid work. This pattern is more pronounced among low- and medium-income couples than among high-income families. Unemployment thus strengthens patterns of inequality both between and within couples
Keywords: Marriage, Gender, Class
Type: Article
Year of publication: 20. July 2015