Job Stability, Earnings, and Marital Stability: How Are They Related?

Avner Ahituv, Urban Institute
Robert Lerman, American University and Urban Institute

This study examines the interactions between job stability, earnings, and marital instability. We analyze the sequence of jobs, marriages, divorces, and remarriages among young men and ask: 1) Do job stability, high wages, and the career advancement of young men promote marriage and marital stability? 2) What are the consequences of marriage and marital stability for achieving high levels of job stability and occupational success? We use a Dynamic Selection Control model to estimate how young men make sequential choices about work and family. The maximum likelihood (ML) approach takes account of self-selection, simultaneity and heterogeneity. The data come from the 1979-1994 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79). The initial results show causal impacts in both directions: job stability promotes higher earnings and marital stability, while marital stability increases job stability and earnings. Simulation results showing impacts of economic shocks on pathways will appear in the revised paper.

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Presented in Session 66: Union Dissolution