Earnings Equality and Relationship Stability for Same-Sex and Heterosexual Couples

Katherine Weisshaar, Stanford University

Among family demographers and sociologists of gender and the family, it has long been debated whether equality in relationships or specialization of work and home duties better promotes relationship stability. This paper offers a unique perspective on the debate, demonstrating that the specialization model holds only in heterosexual relationships, and suggesting the effect of earnings equality is dependent upon gender norms in heterosexual relationships. When earning power is disentangled from gender by examining same-sex couples, results show that equality in earnings promotes stability. Using the new How Couples Meet and Stay Together (HCMST) dataset, this paper employs a discrete-time event history analysis model to assess the likelihood of breakup for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

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Presented in Session 82: Same-Sex Partnerships