Gender relations in couples and the risk of separation in East and West Germany

Heike Trappe, University of Rostock
Christian Schmitt, University of Rostock

The aim of our contribution is to focus on the mechanisms, relating relative gender equality of couples to marital stability in Germany, differentiating between East and West. Specifically, we focus on the role of gender relations for the risk of separation. A key hypothesis in this context is that the varying social and institutional context in the West and the East continues to affect social behavior. We assume that this differential socio‐cultural background is reflected in gender relations to this very day and hence surfaces in differences in marital stability between East and West Germany. More precisely, we pay close attention to the duration of first marriages, formed after the unification over the course of the 1990s. To address our research question, we use data from the German Socio‐Economic Panel Study (GSOEP). Our sample consists of all first marriages that were formed between 1990 and 2006. To investigate the likelihood of separation, all couples are considered for which we have information for at least one year following the transition to marriage. All analyses are conducted for East and West Germany separately in consideration of the mechanisms that are likely to affect gender affairs and the likelihood of separation differently across regions. Using event history models, we will include time‐constant as well as time‐varying covariates in the empirical analysis.

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Presented in Session 7: Life course