WIP: Economic Dependency and Marriage among Norwegian First-Time Parents

Title: Economic Dependency and the Transition to Marriage among First-Time Parents in Norway
Author: Jennifer A. Holland
Abstract: This article explores the relationship between intracouple economic dependency associated with childbearing and the transition to marriage. I proxy for dependency based on participation in a Cash-for-Care benefit scheme. While the program was designed to reimburse parents for either the cost of private or home-based childcare, it disproportionally encouraged home-based care and incentivized dependency. Analyses of program participation and union status (N = 6,986) and partnership dynamics (N = 5,132) using Norwegian population registers demonstrate that more formalized unions are associated with higher rates of long-term program participation and dependency. Although benefit receipt is associated with union stability among cohabiting parents, it is not associated with an increased risk of marriage. Results suggest that in the Norwegian context couples may perceive that marriage provides only a marginally higher level of economic security, particularly when partners have expressed their commitment to one another by having a child together.

Population Association of America Annual Meetings, 2011

Support for the research was provided by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (grant number DGE-0718123), the Norwegian Research Council and the University of Wisconsin—Madison’s Center for Demography and Ecology (Center Grant R24 HD047873).


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