Occupational Gender Composition and Union Dissolution: Exploring the Relationship and Mechanisms

Wei-hsin Yu, University of Maryland
Janet Chen-Lan Kuo , National Taiwan University

Prior research pays relatively little attention to how occupational characteristics shape individuals' risk of union dissolution. Using the NLSY 1997, we specifically investigate the link between occupational gender composition and union dissolution hazards, as well as the underlying mechanisms. Event history models show that men in occupations with greater male representation are less likely, while women in such occupations are more likely, to exit an intimate union. Customarily male occupations’ higher pay explains a modest part of the lower odds of union dissolution for men in such occupations. Conversely, the less family-friendly work schedules account for a sizable portion of male-dominant occupations’ association with union instability for women. Interestingly, the higher earnings and greater authority of customarily male occupations reduce the hazard of union dissolution for women in such occupations. Without these qualities, occupations with higher male representation would be even more strongly associated with women’s risk of union dissolution.

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 Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity