Conference Paper BHPS-2005 Conference: the 2005 British Household Panel Survey Research Conference, 30 June -2 July 2005, Colchester, UK
The economic consequences of partnership dissolution in Germany and Great Britain
Previous research has shown, that the economic outcome of marital disruption can be
quite severe, with income losses outweighing income gains. This is especially true for
women and their dependent children. Evidence found indicates that the economic
outcome of marital dissolution varies by national and social context.
By comparing Germany and Great Britain I look at the three main providers of
individual welfare - the family, the market and the state. The configuration of these
providers determines the economic outcome to a high degree, because the income
sources a person can rely on have an impact on how serious and how long ranged
these consequences are. I also consider the effects of different legal systems as
another possible source of protection from economic risks, mainly in terms of
The paper compares the economic consequences of marital disruption in the two
named countries with data from national household panels (GSOEP and BHPS). On
the basis of partnership dissolutions observed between 1984 and 2001 the paper
addresses the following questions:
1. How large are the economic changes for men and women in the two countries?
2. What are the effects of private transfers (especially between the former spouses)
and welfare state intervention?
3. How much of the income differences between men and women after separation
can be explained by differences in human capital and family obligations?
4. To what extent can differences in economic outcomes between the countries be
explained by varying welfare configurations?