The relationship between work history and partnership formation in cohorts of British men born in 1958 and 1970

Population Studies
Erzsébet Bukodi


This study investigated the relationship between work history and partnership formation for British men. Two questions were asked: (i) Do instabilities in young men's careers lead to a higher probability of entering into cohabitation and, in turn, to a postponement of first marriage? (ii) Are there cohort differences in the effects of men's careers on their partnership decisions? The analyses were based on data from two birth-cohort studies for men born in 1958 and 1970. The results suggest that highly unstable occupational careers make it very likely that young men's first partnership is a cohabitation rather than a marriage. Further, having an unstable occupational career early in working life is a strong impediment to transforming cohabitation into marriage. Finally, there is no evidence of a weakening between cohorts of the effects of men's work careers on their partnership decisions.


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