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Journal Article

Poverty risks after relationship dissolution and the role of children: a contemporary longitudinal analysis of seven OECD countries


Publication date

Mar 2022


The divorce literature has consistently found that - especially women - are negatively affected by relationship dissolution in terms of material wellbeing. There is, however, considerable debate on whether these effects are persistent or temporary. We use fixed effects models and control for the socioeconomic status of individuals who separated between 2011 and 2018 in seven countries for which large scale longitudinal data has recently been harmonized in the Comparative Panel File. We find that the transitory nature of the effect of relationship dissolution on poverty risks for women is similar across countries, but also for some men. We further focus on the role of children in the immediate changes in poverty risks after separation, and again find significant differences between countries. We discuss these findings in light of social policies adopted by these countries, more specifically child and spousal support schemes. We find no distinguishable differences in these support schemes that adequately explain the observed dissimilarities. The implications of this study for the future study of the association between relationship dissolution and poverty are discussed and future pathways are suggested.

Published in

Social Sciences







Poverty, Family Formation And Dissolution, Life Course Analysis, Social Policy, and Sociology Of Households


Open Access; © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).


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