This chapter examines the implications of career achievement for divorce, and whether they differ for men and women. Consistent with theory suggesting that women’s workplace achievement violates traditional expectations of gender and marriage, therefore creating domestic strain, the authors predict that career achievement is associated with a greater risk of divorce for women, but not for men. Using data from the Academy Awards, the authors find that for women, a sudden shift in achievement from winning an Oscar increases their risk of divorce compared to Best Actress nominees. There was no difference in the risk of divorce between Best Actor winners and nominees. The authors additionally examine two potential mitigating factors: whether the actor was already successful at the time of their marriage, and whether their spouse was comparably successful. For Best Actress winners, but not for Best Actor winners, the authors find evidence for the latter, indicating that women’s marriages are more stable when spouses are equally successful, or when relative achievement within the couple aligns with broadly-held norms of traditional marriage.
We thank Terry Amburgey, Robin Ely, Roberto Fernandez, Avi Goldfarb, Chen-Bo Zhong, and Ezra Zuckerman for their comments on previous versions of the manuscript, and Danqi Fu for her assistance with data collection.
Stuart, H.C., Moon, S.H. and Casciaro, T. (2018), "Penalty for Success? Career Achievement and Gender Differences in Divorce", Blair, S.L. and Obradović, J. (Ed.) The Work-Family Interface: Spillover, Complications, and Challenges (Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Vol. 13), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 265-289. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1530-353520180000013015Download as .RIS
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