Whether, When and With Whom? : Socioeconomic Inequalities in Marriage and Cohabitation in Norway
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AbstractThis dissertation assesses current patterns of socioeconomic inequalities in marriage and cohabitation along the dimensions of socioeconomic background, individual socioeconomic resources, and gender. Three broad groups of research questions are posed: When (i.e., the association between socioeconomic family background and timing of first union), with whom (i.e., partner choice with regard to education), and whether (i.e., whether or not cohabitors have definite plans to marry, whether cohabitors and those married differ with regard to relationship assessments, and whether women keep their given last name upon marriage). Of central importance is to investigate whether the patterns which have been found for marriage also apply to cohabitation.
Synthesizing the findings, there clearly are continuing socioeconomic inequalities in union formation and relationship behavior. First, young adults with higher educated parents as well as those reporting material well being during childhood start their first unions later than those from less privileged backgrounds. Next, the majority of parental couples are educationally homogamous and cohabiting parental couples are more likely to be homogamous than their married counterparts. Also, socioeconomic resources are positively associated with cohabitors’ marriage plans. The marriage plans of female cohabitors are less affected by their education and income than their male counterparts. Moreover, cohabitors are overall less committed to and satisfied with their relationships than are married respondents. The views of cohabitors who intend to marry their partners, however, differ much less from those of married respondents than cohabitors with no marriage plans. Last, the vast majority of women still change to the husband’s surname when marrying and the likelihood of being a name keeper increases with women’s socioeconomic status. Women marrying between 1990 and 2002 were less likely to be name keepers than women marrying in the 1980s.
List of papers. Papers 1, 2, 4 and 5 are removed from the thesis due to copyright restrictions.
Paper 1: Wiik, Kenneth Aarskaug: "‘You’d Better Wait!’—Socioeconomic Background and Timing of First Marriage versus First Cohabitation" European Sociological Review 2009 VOL 25(2), 139–153 DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcn045
Paper 2: Wiik, Kenneth Aarskaug: "Changing gender and family relations and partner choice: Educational homogamy among married and cohabiting parental couples in Norway" Manuscript, not published in this form.
Paper 3: Kenneth Aarskaug Wiik, Eva Bernhardt and Turid Noack: "Love or Money? : Marriage Intentions among Young Cohabitors in Norway and Sweden" Manuscript. Published in Acta Sociologica 2010 VOL 53(3), 269-287, DOI: 10.1177/0001699310374488
Paper 4: Wiik, Kenneth Aarskaug, Eva Bernhardt and Turid Noack: "A Study of Commitment and Relationship Quality in Sweden and Norway" Journal of Marriage and Family 2009 VOL(71)3, 465–477 DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00613.x
Paper 5: Noack, Turid and Kenneth Aarskaug Wiik: "Women’s Choice of Surname Upon Marriage in Norway." Journal of Marriage and Family 2008 VOL 70(2), 507–518 DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00497.x