Subsequent marriages: which one lasts longer?

Thomas Woehler, University of Mannheim - CDSS
Valeria Bordone, University of Mannheim

The research on marriage, as a comparison between first and second order marriages, dates back to the 1970s. The literature suggests that second marriages are more likely to dissolve than first marriages. However, most of the studies so far suffered of a lack in terms of data and methods which did not allow controlling for unobserved heterogeneity. We examine whether higher order unions might actually be less likely to dissolve than first unions, testing the “learning-hypothesis” (people learn from their past experiences – i.e. divorce – and do things better the second time around). We use data on 8 European countries from the Gender and Generations Survey. We compare first and subsequent unions. We examine whether higher order marriages are more likely to dissolve than first marriages for people who experienced at least two marriages. The application of within-estimation analyses, including only persons with at least two marriages, clearly shows that subsequent relationships are more stable than first ones.

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Presented in Session 4: Dynamics of remarriage and stepfamilies

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