Just a Matter of Time. Cohabitations as Real Alternatives or Trial Marriage in Spain and Italy

Maria Carella, Università degli Studi di Bari
Thaís García Pereiro, Università degli Studi di Bari
Roberta Pace, Università degli Studi di Bari

In Spain and Italy cohabitation has not acquired the same role that it has accomplished in Northern Europe, but the prevalence of cohabiting couples in both countries is not longer marginal. Not only the incidence but also the nature of cohabiting couples is diverse: in Southern Europe cohabitation is considered a temporal alternative that generally ends with the formalization of the union (marriage). Within a western context of changes in union formation patterns, is it accurate to talk about a shared pattern of cohabitation in Mediterranean countries like Italy and Spain? The purpose of this paper is to examine the incidence, duration and development of cohabitation using a life course comparative approach, identifying also the profiles of those women who split up against those who decide to marry. For the analysis we apply competing-risks regression models (two for each country) for the transition from temporal cohabitation to marriage or dissolution.

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Presented in Session 39: Union Formation in Developed Countries