Spousal homogamy and marital dissolution in the highly educated science and engineering population of the United States




Case, Jinny

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Identifying attributes that are associated with marriage for scientists and engineers is important because such a key part of their personal lives may either positively or negatively influence their occupational trajectory. This research addresses the following questions using data from the Survey of Doctorate Recipients to explore the marital and union dissolution patterns of a unique population, scientists and engineers in the United States. Is sex associated with the likelihood of marrying a partner with similar educational or occupational characteristics? Is the relationship between sex and homogamy for the highly educated technical workforce mediated by other characteristics, such as field of study, occupation, or work history? How do sex and homogamy interact along with other characteristics to influence marital dissolution in the form of separation or divorce?

These questions are evaluated using social mobility tables and logistic regression on a nationally representative dataset of science and engineering doctorates to reveal the relationship that gender has on marriage matching in the highly educated. Sex is positively related to homogamy, and being in a homogamous relationship lowers the risk of union dissolution for females. Also, minorities underrepresented in science and engineering have higher odds of experiencing divorce or separation over time.


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divorce, engineer, homogamy, marriage, scientist, Survey of Doctorate Recipients