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.
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This also affects the number of children, which is underestimated in the sample, since this is a constant variable that measured the number of children in 1995.
De Lange et al. (2013) distinguish between standard and flexible employment, whereby the former involves an employment contract of more than one year and the latter involves a contract of less than one year. Lacking data on employment contracts and working hours, we used continuous employment through a calendar year instead.
Our data indicate that Israeli-Palestinians tend to divorce less and both genders tend to have less stable jobs (not shown).
The coefficient of “only the wife has stable employment” is not significantly different from the coefficient of “both partners have unstable employment” at the level of 95%
The coefficient of “continuous employment instability” is not significantly different from the coefficient of “transition from stability to instability” at the level of 95%.
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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.
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Kaplan, A., Herbst-Debby, A. Fragile Employment, Liquid Love: Employment Instability and Divorce in Israel. Popul Res Policy Rev 37, 1–31 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11113-017-9444-2