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“Bad Jobs” for Marriage: Precarious Work and the Transition to First Marriage

Precarious Work

ISBN: 978-1-78743-288-8, eISBN: 978-1-78743-287-1

Publication date: 19 December 2017


Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) from 1979 to 2008, this study examines how employment precarity is associated with the transition to first marriage. Building upon research on precarious work and economic determinants of marriage, I employ various measures of precarious work, including health insurance coverage, the provision of pension benefits, and part-time work. Results from the discrete-time hazard models show that precarious work delays men’s marriage entry more than women’s. For men, all indicators of precarious work decrease the odds of first marriage by up to 40%. Compared to men, women’s entry into first marriage is delayed when they have part-time employment. My study findings contribute to the theoretical discussions of the causes of family inequality, which have suggested the precarization of work and associated deterioration of job quality as one of the leading influences on the retreat from marriage. Further, results of this study indicate that the spread of precarious work has profound social consequences through its impact on family formation. In light of limited empirical research on the impact of precarious work on non-work-related outcomes, subsequent research needs to continue examining how employment precarity and family inequality are intertwined with various substantive foci across societies.



Lim, S. (2017), "“Bad Jobs” for Marriage: Precarious Work and the Transition to First Marriage", Kalleberg, A.L. and Vallas, S.P. (Ed.) Precarious Work (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 31), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 399-427.



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