Changing Educational Gradients of U.S. Partnership Formation and Dissolution: A Multilevel Multistate Competing Risks Assessment

Léa Pessin, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Lynn Prince Cooke, University of Bath

The effect of female education on partnership dynamics in the United States is a widely investigated topic. However, several questions remain unanswered regarding how the role of education in predicting entry and exit into partnership has changed in the past decades. In this article, we first aim at investigating how the effect of female education on partnership formation and dissolution has changed across cohorts. Second, we test whether the role played by education still holds when taking into account unobservable heterogeneity and the endogeneity of education decisions on partnership outcomes. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we take a multilevel multistate competing risks approach to model partnership dynamics. Our results suggest that higher education increasingly predicts a higher risk of partnership formation into both marriage and cohabitation as well as a lower risk of marital separation. However, we find no significant effect of education on cohabitation outcomes.

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Presented in Session 188: Cohort Change and Inequality in Divorce