Split Equally? Gender Differences in Wealth Trajectories Following Separation in Germany

Diederik Boertien, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED), Universitat de Barcelona
Philipp M. Lersch , Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Wealth accumulated during marriage should by law be split equally between partners in Germany. However, pre-marital wealth and wealth accumulated in cohabiting unions are not governed by such rules. The question is therefore to what extent couples’ wealth is divided equally after union dissolution, especially in an era where cohabitation is becoming ever more common. Using data from the German Socio-economic Panel we look at the possible divergence of individual wealth trajectories among both former partners in the years before and after union dissolution. Preliminary results reveal that individual wealth declines following the dissolution of both marriages and cohabitations. Women end up with systematically lower wealth as compared to their male ex-partners. These gender differences do not appear to be temporary and are especially pronounced following the break-up of cohabiting unions.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 118. The Economics of Divorce