[Publisher:] Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW) [Place:] Berlin [Year:] 1992
DIW Discussion Papers 49
Given the collective nature of marital decisionmaking and the vast changes infernale labor force participation in recent years, it may be misleading to view marital timing in terms of individual labor force integration. To do so, is to stress the effects of a set of factors on some individuals, while ignoring the impact of these very same processes on the formation of the occupational identity of the [potential] spouse. Accordingly, this paper examines the relative importance of both husbands' and wives' employment and enrollment statuses, and the joint effects of both partners1 integration in the labor force on the rate of entry into marriage. The analysis is based on two data sets: the German Socio-economic Panel (SOEP) and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). After discussing the practical and conceptual issues associated with using couples as the unit of analysis, in particular the question of potential selection bias, a descriptive presentation and cross-national comparison ofpatterns of labor force integration at the time of marriage are presented. A discrete time approach to event history analysis is used to test the observed differences, especially the gender question. The results show that the rate of entry into marriage is indeed influenced by the enrollment and employment status of both partners, but that the effects are gender variable. Leaving school or entering employment by the male partner increases the couple's rate of entry into marriage. This rate also responds to the female partner completing her education, but her further labor force integration through employment fails to have any additional positive impact.