Inga Lass - The Effects of Non-Standard Employment on Partnership Stability in Germany and Australia

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Jan Kabátek

j.kabatek@unimelb.edu.au

Melbourne Institute Brown Bag

Title: The Effects of Non-Standard Employment on Partnership Stability in Germany and Australia

Abstract: During the past decades, Germany and Australia as well as many other OECD countries have seen a rising importance of non-standard forms of employment – among them fixed-term contracts, temporary agency work, part-time, marginal and casual work. While the economic consequences of this development, e.g. for income and career prospects, have received much attention in prior research, the effects on workers’ private lives have not been explored sufficiently. The paper aims at filling part of this gap by investigating how non-standard employment affects the risk of partnership dissolution compared to standard employment. On the one hand, non-standard employment often involves specific strains like job insecurity and mobility requirements. These strains can reduce partnership quality, which - according to Social Exchange Theory – should in turn lower partnership stability. On the other hand, part-time and marginal work provide more time for housework and joint activities with the partner, which should increase partnership quality. Furthermore, they often designate a partially specialised division of labour, which – following the New Home Economics – increases the mutual dependency of the partners and the gains from the partnership. The research question is explored by means of discrete-time event history analysis and by comparing nonmarital cohabitations and marriages. For cohabitations, competing risk models are estimated that simultaneously assess the risks of partnership dissolution and marriage. Data for the analysis are taken from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) Study and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey for the period 2001-2015. The results stress the diversity of effects of non-standard employment on partnership dissolution: The effect not only varies by the specific employment form, country and gender but also depends on the question of whether we look at cohabiting unions or marriages. Moreover, it turns out that the effect of the employment form differs with regard to the employment situation of the partner, suggesting a closer look at employment constellations in future dissolution research.

Presenter: Inga Lass, Melbourne Institute, University of Melbourne

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