Does Income Equality Stabilize Power Couple Unions? a Longitudinal Analysis from the Netherlands

Niels Kooiman, Statistics Netherlands

A vast amount of studies in the US and Europe aimed to identify socio-economic determinants of union dissolution. Whereas the positive link between men’s higher socio-economic position and union stability has been widely confirmed, the effect of women’s socio-economic resources is still being disputed. In the Netherlands the traditional specialization model in which the wife’s relative income is low seems to protect marriages and unmarried cohabitations with a longer duration. In our study we investigate the interaction between human capital and relative incomes focusing on power couples: unions in which both partners are highly educated. Since both partners invested strongly in their human capital we hypothesize that income equality is especially protective for power couple unions. Based on longitudinal administrative data of Statistics Netherlands and using event history analysis we incorporated all unions newly formed in 2000 which we followed until 2016. Work is still in progress but provisional results point to a stabilizing effect of equal incomes among power couples.

Presented in Poster Session 1