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psc brown bag iconThe Reversal of the Education Gender Gap in Marriage and Marital Dissolution

Christine Schwartz (Department of Sociology and Center for Demography and Ecology, University of Wisconsin - Madison)

04-11-2011, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

Co-sponsored with the Survey Research Center

The reversal of the gender gap in education has translated to marriage. Beginning in the early 1990s, wives’ educational attainment began to exceed their husbands’. Previous research has found that marriages in which wives’ education exceeds their husbands’ are more likely to dissolve. In this project, we describe the changing characteristics of these marriages and evaluate whether the association between spouses’ relative educational attainments and marital dissolution changed among marriages formed between 1950 and 1999 in the United States. We find that the reversal of the gender gap in education has been accompanied by a large shift in the association between spouses’ relative education and divorce. Wives with more education than their husbands were once more likely to divorce, but this relationship has disappeared in recent marriage cohorts.


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