Gender Roles and Family Stability: The Influence of a More Active Father’s Role on Divorce Risk in the Nordic Countries

Ann-Zofie Duvander, Stockholm University
Trude Lappegård, Statistics Norway
Mats Johansson, Swedish Social Insurance Inspectorate

Family instability has been linked to increasing proportions of dual-earner couples. These changes have not resulted in equal division of labor at home and create a gap between gender equality in the public and private spheres which is a possible source of family instability. In this paper we ask whether a more active father’s role in the family has a negative effect on divorce risk. We will do this focusing on a family policy reform, namely the father’s quota of the parental leave, which is a unique Nordic feature with a specific aim of challenging the gender roles in the family. Using unique data from population registers we use the reform to estimate the causal effect of more active father’s role on the risk of divorce. The reform was embraced by the fathers and we expect lower divorce risk after the introduction of the reform than before all other equal.

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Presented in Session 215: Divorce: Causes and Consequences