Center for Family and Demographic Research
Effects of Couples' Money Practices on Work-Family Outcomes: Union Dissolution and Women's Labor Force Participation
The Effects of Couples' Money Practices on Work-Family Outcomes: Union Dissolution and Women's Labor Force Participation
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Little quantitative research on household economic behavior in the United States examines how couples manage and control money or how such money practices influence subsequent work-family outcomes. This project addresses two questions: 1) Does the way a couple manages and controls money affect the relationship and economic outcomes of union dissolution and women's labor force participation above and beyond the influence of each partner's income? 2) What does the direction of effect of a particular money management and control system (for example, joint versus separate accounts) imply about partners' relative power or wellbeing within the household? To answer these questions, I use data on married and cohabiting parents from the first four waves of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCW), an ongoing national birth cohort study of parents and their children. These data are invaluable for the proposed research, because couples were asked questions regarding money management and control in the 12-, 36-, and 60-month waves of the study, and the study also includes extensive information on other factors previously found to be associated with union dissolution and/or women's labor supply, including race, ethnicity, education, earnings, and relationship history and quality. A preliminary analysis using only two waves of data found that a couple's money management system is a significant predictor of both subsequent union dissolution and women’s labor force participation, net of other predictors.