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Published: 2024-03-18 Updated: 2024-03-22, 08:51

A new research project will examine the effects of inequality within couples over time

NEWS A new international project has received founding. Professor Anna Baranowska-Rataj and her team at CEDAR will be a part of the project Family outcomes of assortative mating: New insights based on couple-level survey/register data.

Our project aims to fill that gap making use of large-scale register data, linked with survey data, which allow us to thoroughly investigate how gender inequality within couples unfolds over time

Anna Baranowska-Rataj and her colleagues at Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR) were invited by Professor Nadia Steiber at University of Vienna, to join the project Family outcomes of assortative mating: New insights based on couple-level survey/register data. A project that will conduct cutting-edge interdisciplinary research based on large data sets on socially relevant issues.

“The research group at CEDAR are really looking forward to this. Collaborating with brilliant colleagues from Vienna will be great fun and an opportunity to exchange knowledge, experiences, and to learn from each other," says Anna Baranowska-Rataj
 
The research within the project will contribute to emerging research on what demographers call assortative mating, a term that refers to how constellations of relative economic advantages such as education attainment, occupational status or income looks like in couples.

We observe much more variation in couples, with a growing proportion of partnerships where women are better educated than their partner and/or earn more than their partner

“Couples in Europe used to consist predominantly of partnerships where a man was more educated and earning more money than his female partner. But these patterns of relative economic advantages in couples have changed, as women today are more likely to complete higher education, get a good job with a high salary and high occupational status. So, we observe much more variation in couples, with a growing proportion of partnerships where women are better educated than their partner and/or earn more than their partner," says Anna.
 
In this project the focus will be specifically on such couples where the wife (female partner) is more educated than the husband (male partner).

“We will examine the impact of where people live and work on which types of partners they choose. Subsequently, we study the implications of ‘modern relationships’ in which the woman is more educated and/or earns more than the man on family-related and work-related decisions," says Anna.

Within the project they will investigate the ways in which partners’ relative resources affect when couples decide to start a family, how many children they have, and how healthy these children are. And finally, they will explore how having children affects income inequality within couples.

“How within-couples inequality of economic resources affects relationships, family planning, employment careers, and equality between partners isn't thoroughly studied yet. Our project aims to fill that gap making use of large-scale register data, linked with survey data, which allow us to thoroughly investigate how gender inequality within couples unfolds over time," Anna concludes.

 

Read more about the project