Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 1–31 | Cite as

Fragile Employment, Liquid Love: Employment Instability and Divorce in Israel

  • Amit Kaplan
  • Anat Herbst-Debby


The study examines the relationship between the employment stability of first-marriage couples and risk of divorce in Israel. This research question is of particular interest owing to the centrality of the family in Israeli society, rising divorce rates, and increasing employment instability and “deregulation” of the labor market. We capture employment instability through two dimensions: the pattern of employment instability within couples and the continuity of each partner’s employment instability. We utilize this conceptualization to identify the link between employment instability and divorce, focusing on gender and socioeconomic resources. Data were from combined Israeli census files for 1995–2008, annual administrative employment records from the National Insurance Institute and the Tax Authority, and the Civil Registry of Divorce (N = 10,891 couples). Using a series of discrete-time event-history analysis models, findings indicate that husbands’ employment instability, especially when wives have stable employment, increases the risk of divorce; employment stability continuity has opposite gender effects on that risk; and the effect of employment instability on divorce remains significant after taking into account household economic resources. The findings reveal asymmetric gender patterns of the effect of employment instability on divorce, beyond the socioeconomic resources of the household.


Divorce Employment instability Israel Gender Labor market Stratification 



We are grateful to Yasmin Alkalay (Tel Aviv University) for her invaluable comments and to Helene Hogri, our editor, for her important contribution. We acknowledge the Research Authority of the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo for their support of the study, and we express our appreciation to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics as data coordinator. Finally, we thank the anonymous reviewers of this journal for their enlightening comments and suggestions.


  1. Allison, P. D. (1984). Event history analysis: Regression for longitudinal event data. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Amato, P. R. (2010). Research on divorce: Continuing trends and new developments. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 650–666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amato, P. R., & Beattie, B. (2011). Does the unemployment rate affect the divorce rate? An analysis of state data 1960–2005. Social Science Research, 40(3), 705–715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barbieri, P., & Scherer, S. (2009). Labour market flexibilization and its consequences in Italy. European Sociological Review, 25, 677–692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bauman, Z. (2003). Liquid love. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  6. Becker, G. S. (1981). A treatise on the family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Ben-David, D. (2013). State of the nation in photos: Society, economy and policy in Israel photos. Jerusalem: Taub Center (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  8. Berkovitch, N. (1997). Motherhood as a national mission: The construction of womanhood in the legal discourse in Israel. Women’s Studies International Forum, 20, 605–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blossfeld, H. P., & Müller, R. (2002). Union disruption in comparative perspective: The role of assortative partner choice and careers of couples. International Journal of Sociology, 32, 3–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brines, J. (1994). Economic dependency, gender and the division of labor at home. American Journal of Sociology, 100, 652–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Charles, K. K., & Stephens, M. (2004). Disability, job displacement and divorce. Journal of Labor Economics, 22, 489–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chen, W.-C. (2012). The changing pattern of educational differentials in divorce in the context of gender egalitarianization: The case of Taiwan. Population Research and Policy Review, 31(6), 831–853.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cherlin, A. (1979). Work life and marital dissolution. In G. Levinger & O. Moles (Eds.), Divorce and separation: A survey of causes and consequences (pp. 151–166). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  14. Cherlin, A. J. (2004). The deinstitutionalization of American marriage. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(4), 848–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cohen, Y. (2006). Developments in gender, ethnic and national earnings and educational gaps in Israel. In U. Ram & N. Berkovitz (Eds.), Inequality (pp. 339–347). Beer Sheva: Ben Gurion University Press (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  16. Cohen, P. N. (2014). Recession and divorce in the United States, 2008–2011. Population Research and Policy Review, 33(5), 615–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cooke, L. P. (2006). “Doing” gender in context: Household bargaining and the risk of divorce in Germany and the United States. American Journal of Sociology, 112, 442–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cooke, L. P., & Gash, V. (2010). Wives’ part-time employment and marital stability in Great Britain, West Germany and the United States. Sociology, 44, 1091–1108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dahan, M. (2012). Is there justification for removing the poor from measures of poverty? Unpublished manuscript (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  20. Davis, K. D., Goodman, W. B., Pirretti, A. E., & Almeida, D. M. (2008). Nonstandard work schedules, perceived family well-being, and daily stressors. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70, 991–1003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. De Lange, M., Wolbers, M. H., & Ultee, W. C. (2013). United in precarious employment? Employment precarity of young couples in the Netherlands, 1992–2007. European Sociological Review, 29, 503–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Eliason, M. (2012). Lost jobs, broken marriages. Journal of Population Economics, 25, 1365–1397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Esping-Andersen, G. (2009). The incomplete revolution: Adapting to women’s new roles. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  24. Fogel, N. (2005). Cohabitation in Israel. Jerusalem: Central Bureau of Statistics (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  25. Fogiel-Bijaoui, S. (2002). Familism, postmodernity and the state: The case of Israel. The Journal of Israeli History, 21, 38–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gal, J. (2010). Is there an extended family of Mediterranean welfare states? Journal of European Social Policy, 20(4), 283–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Galvin, P. (2015). Perceived job insecurity and health: Do duration and timing matter? The Sociological Quarterly, 56, 300–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Green, C. P., & Leeves, G. D. (2013). Job security, financial security and worker well-being: New evidence on the effects of flexible employment. Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 60(2), 121–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Grossbard-Shechtman, A. (1984). A theory of allocation of time in markets for labor and marriage. Economic Journal, 94, 863–882.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Grossbard-Shechtman, S., & Lemennicier, B. (1999). Marriage contracts and the law-and-economics of marriage: An Austrian perspective. The Journal of Socio-Economics, 28(6), 665–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Grotti, R., & Scherer, S. (2014). Accumulation of employment instability among partners: Evidence from six EU countries. European Sociological Review, 30, 627–639.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hacker, D. (2005). Motherhood, fatherhood and law: Child custody in Israel. Social and Legal Studies, 14(3), 409–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Halperin-Kaddari, R. (2007). Moral considerations in family law and feminist reading of family law rulings in Israel. In D. Barak-Erez, S. Yaniski-Ravid, Y. Biton, & D. Fogetz (Eds.), Studies in law, gender and feminism (pp. 651–698). Srigim: Nevo (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  34. Hansen, H. T. (2005). Unemployment and marital dissolution: A panel data study of Norway. European Sociological Review, 21, 135–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Härkönen, J., & Dronkers, J. (2006). Stability and change in the educational gradient of divorce: A comparison of seventeen countries. European Sociological Review, 22, 501–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hartmann, H. I. (1981). The family as the locus of gender, class, and political struggle: The example of housework. Signs, 6, 366–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hashiloni-Dolev, Y. (2007). A life (un)worthy of living: Reproductive genetics in Israel and Germany. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  38. Herbst, A. (2013). Welfare mom as warrior mom: Discourse in the 2003 single mothers’ protest in Israel. Journal of Social Policy, 42, 129–145.Google Scholar
  39. Hobson, B. (1990). No exit, no voice: Women’s economic dependency and the welfare state. Acta Sociologica, 33, 235–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. ICBS–Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. (1989). Yearly statistics: Marriages and divorces. Jerusalem: Central Bureau of Statistics (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  41. ICBS–Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. (1994). Yearly statistics: Marriages and divorces. Jerusalem: Central Bureau of Statistics (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  42. ICBS–Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. (1995). Yearly statistics: Marriages and divorces. Jerusalem: Central Bureau of Statistics (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  43. ICBS–Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. (2015). Yearly statistics: Marriages and divorces. Jerusalem: Central Bureau of Statistics (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  44. Jalovaara, M. (2003). The joint effects of marriage partners’ socioeconomic positions on the risk of divorce. Demography, 40, 67–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Johnson, W. R., & Skinner, J. (1986). Labor supply and marital separation. American Economic Review, 76(3), 455–469.Google Scholar
  46. Kalil, A., Ziol-Guest, K. M., & Levin Epstein, J. (2010). Nonstandard work and marital instability: Evidence from the national longitudinal survey of youth. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 1289–1300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kalmijn, M. (2007). Explaining cross-national differences in marriage, cohabitation and divorce in Europe, 1990–2000. Population Studies, 61, 243–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kalmijn, M. (2011). The influence of men’s income and employment on marriage and cohabitation: Testing Oppenheimer’s theory in Europe. European Journal of Population, 27, 269–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kalmijn, M., Loeve, A., & Manting, D. (2007). Income dynamics in couples and the dissolution of marriage and cohabitation. Demography, 44, 159–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kaplan, A., & Herbst, A. (2015). Stratified patterns of divorce: Earnings, education and gender. Demographic Research, 32, 949–982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kaplan, A., & Stier, H. (2016). Political economy of family life: Couple’s earnings, welfare regime and union dissolution. Social Science Research. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2016.06.014.Google Scholar
  52. Killewald, A. (2016). Money, work, and marital stability: Assessing change in the gendered determinants of divorce. American Sociological Review, 81(4), 696–719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Kristal, T. (2014). Israel’s political economy and rising income inequality, 1970–2010. Israeli Sociology, 15, 1–30. (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  54. Lewin, A. C. (2005). The effect of economic stability on family stability among welfare recipients. Evaluation Review, 29, 223–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Lewin, A. C. (2006). Divorce in Israel: A socio-demographic approach. Israeli Sociology, 8, 65–85.Google Scholar
  56. Lyngstad, T. H., & Jalovaara, M. (2010). A review of the antecedents of union dissolution. Demographic Research, 23, 257–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Mandel, H., & Semyonov, M. (2006). A welfare paradox: State interventions and women’s employment opportunities in 22 countries. American Journal of Sociology, 111, 1910–1949.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Mandel, H., & Shalev, M. (2009). How welfare states shape the gender pay gap: A theoretical and comparative analysis. Social Forces, 87, 1873–1912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Maslauskaite, A., Jasilioniene, A., Jasilionis, D., Stankuniene, V., & Shkolnikov, V. M. (2015). Socio-economic determinants of divorce in Lithuania: Evidence from register-based census-linked data. Demographic Research, 33, 871–908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Matysiak, A., Styrc, M., & Vignoli, D. (2014). The educational gradient in marital disruption: A meta-analysis of European longitudinal research findings. Population Studies, 68, 197–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Misra, J., Budig, M., & Boeckmann, I. (2011). Work-family policies and the effects of children on women’s employment hours and wages. Community, Work, and Family, 14(2), 139–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Mundlak, G., Saporta, I., Haberfeld, Y., & Cohen, Y. (2013). Union density in Israel, 1995–2010: The hybridization of industrial relations. Industrial Relations, 52(1), 78–101.Google Scholar
  63. OECD. (2014). OECD family database. Paris: OECD.
  64. Okun, S. B. (2004). Insight into ethnic flux: Marriage patterns among Jews of mixed ancestry in Israel. Demography, 41, 173–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ono, H. (2006). Divorce in Japan: Why it happens, why it doesn’t. In M. Blomström & S. La Croix (Eds.), Institutional change in Japan (pp. 221–236). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  66. Oppenheimer, V. K. (1997). Women’s employment and the gain to marriage: The specialization and trading model. Annual Review of Sociology, 23, 431–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Poortman, A. R. (2005a). How work affects divorce: The mediating role of financial and time pressures. Journal of Family Issues, 26(2), 168–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Poortman, A. R. (2005b). Women’s work and divorce: A matter of anticipation? A research note. European Sociological Review, 21, 301–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Raley, R. K., & Bumpass, L. (2003). The topography of the divorce plateau: Levels and trends in union stability in the United States after 1980. Demographic Research, 8, 245–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Raz-Yurovich, L. (2010). Men’s and women’s economic activity and first marriage: Jews in Israel, 1987-1995. Demographic Research, 22, 933–964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Raz-Yurovich, L. (2012). Economic determinants of divorce among dual-earner couples: Jews in Israel. European Journal of Population, 28, 177–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Rogers, S. J. (2004). Dollars, dependency, and divorce: Four perspectives on the role of wives’ income. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(1), 59–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Rosenhek, Z., & Shalev, M. (2013). The political economy of Israel’s “social justice” protests: A class and generational analysis. Theory and Criticism, 41, 45–68. (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  74. Sayer, L. C., & Bianchi, S. M. (2000). Women’s economic independence and the probability of divorce. Journal of Family Issues, 21(7), 906–943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Sayer, L. C., England, P., Allison, P., & Kangas, N. (2011). She left, he left: How employment and satisfaction affect men’s and women’s decisions to leave marriages. American Journal of Sociology, 116, 1982–2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Semyonov, M., Raijman, R., & Maskileyson, D. (2015). Ethnicity and labor market incorporation of post-1990 immigrants in Israel. Population Research and Policy Review, 34(3), 331–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Standing, G. (2011). The precariat. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  78. Stier, H. (2010). The end of the sole provider era: Families with two providers. In V. Muhlbauer & L. Kulik (Eds.), Working families: Parents in the labor market in Israel, social, economic and legal perspectives (pp. 17–45). Rishon LeZion: Peles (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  79. Stier, H. (2011). Welfare and employment among single mothers in Israel from a comparative perspective. In D. Ben-David (Ed.), State of the nation report: Society, economy and policy in Israel (pp. 205–227). Jerusalem: Taub Center (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  80. Stier, H., & Herzberg, E. (2013). Women in the labor force: The impact of education on employment patterns and wages. Policy Paper 2013.08. Jerusalem: Taub Center (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  81. Stier, H., Lewin-Epstein, N., & Braun, M. (2001). Welfare regimes: Family-support policies and women’s employment along the life-course. American Journal of Sociology, 55(1), 99–122.Google Scholar
  82. Stier, H., & Mandel, H. (2009). Inequality in the family: The institutional aspects of women’s earning contribution. Social Science Research, 38, 594–608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Tamborini, C. R., Iams, H. M., & Reznik, G. L. (2012). Women’s earnings before and after marital dissolution: Evidence from longitudinal earnings records matched to survey data. Journal of Economics Issues, 33, 69–82.Google Scholar
  84. Teachman, J. (2010). Work-related health limitations, education, and the risk of marital disruption. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 919–932.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Todesco, L. (2011). A matter of number, age or marriage? Children and marital dissolution in Italy. Population Research and Policy Review, 30(2), 313–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Toledano, E., & Wasserstein, C. (2014). Single-parent families in Israel, 1993–2013. Jerusalem: National Insurance Institute (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  87. Triger, T. (2005). Remembrance of laws past: Israel’s adoption of religious marriage and divorce law as a means for reviving the Jewish people’s lost manliness. In O. Ben-Naftali, H. Naveh, N. Aviad, & J. Shkabatur (Eds.), Trials of love (pp. 173–225). Ramot: Tel Aviv University Press (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  88. Valletta, R. (2015). Higher education, wages, and polarization. FRBSF Economic Letter, 1–5.Google Scholar
  89. Van Damme, M., & Kalmijn, M. (2014). The dynamic relationships between union dissolution and women’s employment: A life-history analysis of 16 countries. Social Science Research, 48, 261–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Wasserstein, C. (2015). Recipients of maternity benefits in 2014. Jerusalem: National Insurance Institute (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  91. West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender and Society, 1, 125–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Government and SocietyTel-Aviv-Yaffo Academic CollegeYaffoIsrael
  2. 2.Interdisciplinary Gender Studies ProgramBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

Personalised recommendations