Job Autonomy and Marriage Formation: A Comparison between Men and Women

Janet Kuo, University of Texas at Austin
Kelly Raley, University of Texas at Austin

Using data from the NLSY 97, this paper investigates how work-related assets (income, status, and autonomy) shape young adults’ transition to first marriage. We hypothesize that the relationship between work-related assets and marriage varies by age as well as gender and find that for women income is a stronger positive predictor of marriage in the mid-to late-20s than at earlier ages. Additionally, non-monetary aspects of work also matter. Occupational autonomy—being able to structure one’s own work—facilitates entry into first marriage for women in their mid-to late-20s but not in their late teens and early 20s. In contrast, for men, job autonomy has no effect on marriage formation at these ages. When job autonomy and income are taken into account, occupational status does not have a statistically significant association with marriage formation for either women or men.

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Presented in Session 39: Union Formation in Developed Countries