Divorced and Unemployed: the Declining Association between Two Critical Lifecourse States in the UK, 1984-2017

Individuals exposed to both job loss and marital dissolution are likely to be highly disadvantaged, having experienced stresses and losses in the two primary domains of life. Moreover, recent literature finds that exposure to one event tends to increase the risk of the other. However, next to nothing is known about the size or composition – or changes therein – of the divorced/separated and unemployed (DSU) subpopulation. Using large, nationally representative, repeated cross-sectional datasets extending back to 1984, we aim to fill this gap for the UK. We give a descriptive account of the prevalence and social distribution of DSU, and of the cross-sectional association between its two component states: among which groups, by education and gender, does being either divorced/separated or unemployed most strongly imply a heightened risk of also being the other, and how has this changed over time? We find stable and strong educational inequality in DSU, while the gender gap has narrowed and recently closed. The association between the two states is stronger among men; has weakened strikingly over the time period we consider, for both men and, especially, women; and is educationally stratified among men but not women. Contrary to expectations, higher-educated men in one of the two states are most likely to also be in the other. Possible explanations and further questions are discussed. In particular, we highlight the possibility that over this time period the divorced/separated have become more like the general population, rather than a negatively selected subgroup among whom unemployment is a particular risk.

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Rachel Robinson: Optimist or pessimist? Pre-term personalities and later life chances


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In Episode 7 of the DIAL Podcast, Rachel Robinson from the University of Helsinki discusses her research looking at whether pre-term babies are more likely to be pessimists or optimists and the implications for how they get on as young adults. The research is part of the NORFACE-funded PremLife Project  looking at adaptation and life outcomes of preterm and low birth weight children across the lifespan.

Further information:

Rachel Robinson was discussing research presented at the DIAL Mid-Term Conference in June 2019.

Tracking in the Italian Education System

In this report, we provide an overview of tracking, that is the choice of the type of secondary school, in Italy. First, we describe the structure of the Italian education system and its main reforms. We detail broad and curricular tracking both between and within schools. We focus on upper secondary school, since in Italy the school tracks branch at this node. Second, we use the Italian Household Longitudinal Study (IHLS) data to illustrate both the trends in educational attainment and the educational trajectories for four birth cohorts (1927-47, 1948-57, 1958-67 and 1968-77). Third, we report the pattern of association between tracking and social inequality for the 1958-67 birth cohort. Specifically, we show that parental education and social class of origin are strongly correlated to track placement. Moreover, the choice of upper secondary school is associated to the final educational attainment and the position in the labor market at occupational maturity. Furthermore, tracking mediates almost half of the association between social background and educational and labor market outcomes.

Tracking and Sorting in the German Educational System. Literature review and analyses of the birth cohorts 1970-1980

This report reviews the key modes of creating social dispersion in the German educational system by sorting students into distinct groups based on performance or choice. It describes the basic structure of the German educational system and the specific modes of sorting at the different stages of education from early childhood education and care until tertiary education, building on country-specific literature, administrative documents and official data. It places a specific focus on secondary schooling, where formal tracking is most prevalent. The report is complemented by descriptive analyses for the birth cohorts 1970-1980 in West Germany based on data from the National Educational Panel Study, Starting Cohort 6. It describes their educational pathways, the role of social origin in track placement, the long-term consequences of tracking, and its contribution to long-term social inequality. Findings based on new data covering detailed educational biographies show that the three different tracks lead to different educational and vocational trajectories; at the same time, there are manifold ways to reach similar attainment and to upgrade previous certificates. Parental resources (in terms of education or occupational class) are strongly associated with track placement. While students’ track location at different ages increases its importance in predicting educational outcomes, occupational measures are found to be less sensitive to respondents’ track location. This is especially true for unemployment and earnings. Finally, track placement at the beginning of lower secondary education accounts from on third to half of the difference in educational and labour market attainment due to social background and subsequent track mobility further mediates social background differences. A next step will be to investigate to which extent the effect of track placement is due to individuals’ self-selection into tracks.

Tracking and Sorting in the French Educational System

This paper provides an overview of tracking policies in secondary education in France. Drawing on two large datasets on educational trajectories and labour-market outcomes, it identifies patterns of social inequalities associated with track allocation in secondary education. It assesses the long-term consequences of track assignment and its mediating role in the association between social origin and occupational outcomes. Results confirm the large association between social origin and track allocation on the one hand, and between track attainment and higher education and labour-market outcomes at occupational maturity on the other hand. We also find that track attainment accounts for a large share of the association between social origin, measured either by parental education or by social class, and outcomes at occupational maturity. These results highlight the importance of tracking policies for social stratification in the French context.

Tracking and sorting in the Finnish educational system

This report gives a brief overview of educational tracking and sorting in the Finnish educational system. In Finland, students are divided into different tracks relatively late even though between and within-school tracking exists at all educational levels in some forms. In this report, we present descriptive empirical analyses of long-term consequences of educational tracking by social origin using full population Finnish register data. According to our analyses, parental education and parental social class are associated with track choice at upper secondary and tertiary education. Track choice at upper secondary education is also associated with several outcomes at occupational maturity, such as final educational attainment, social class, earnings and unemployment. Track choice at tertiary education partly explains these associations but the coefficients remain statistically significant in most of the cases. Furthermore, our decomposition analyses show a direct effect of social origin on outcomes at occupational maturity which is not explained by track choice at upper secondary and tertiary education.

Educational tracking and sorting in England

This report provides an overview and brief literature review of the English education system and the relevant educational reforms in relation to educational tracking and sorting. We employ the term ‘tracking’ when referring to formal educational differentiation, while ‘sorting’ refers to informal educational differentiation. The main objective is to provide a descriptive empirical analysis that identifies the long-term consequences of educational tracking and sorting on educational and occupational attainment. We also explore to what extent educational tracking/sorting characteristics mediate the relationship between social class of origin and destination. We use the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) to provide empirical evidence for a mature cohort, mainly focusing on the role of school type and attaining a degree from a prestigious university as the main forms of educational tracking and sorting.

The Structure, Causes, and Consequences of Tracking in the Danish Education System

This report provides an overview over the institutional configuration of the Danish educational system and its development over time with a focus
on inequalities in educational attainment. We draw on population data from Danish administrative registers and we describe the development of
educational attainment including track choices and field of study specializations for individuals born from 1960-1986. This cohort range
was chosen in light of relevant institutional reforms of the Danish school system that led to changes in between- or within-school tracking.
However, the bulk of our analyses that provide a detailed picture of tracking and tracking consequences, are based on the 1975 cohort. The
first chapter provides a description of the basic structure of the Danish educational system and highlights some of the major educational reforms.
In chapter two, we follow the historical development of educational attainment. Chapter three describes the flow of individuals (born in 1975)
through the educational system. Chapter four analyses the long-term consequences associated with track choices. Finally, in chapter five some
basic decomposition analyses are presented that help us to explain to what extent the association between social origin and the attainment tertiary degrees or labor market outcomes is mediated by prior track choices.

Christian Zünd: Who we are and what we drink – genes, pubs and alcohol policy


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In Episode 6 of the DIAL podcast, Christian Zünd from the University of Zurich discusses his research looking at the interplay between our genes and what we drink, local availability of alcohol and the role of licensing laws. The research is part of the NORFACE-funded project, Gene-Environment Interplay in the Generation of Health and Education Inequalities (GEIGHEI), which is looking at how Genes and the Environment (GxE) interact to generate inequalities in education and health over the life course.

Further information:

Christian Zünd was discussing research presented at the DIAL Mid-Term Conference in June 2019.

DIAL Mid-term Conference 2019

The first mid-term conference of the DIAL (Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course) research programme will take place from the 6th to the 8th of June 2019.

For more information, visit http://dynamicsofinequality.org/midterm-conference

 

Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course (DIAL) is a multi-disciplinary research programme consisting of thirteen European projects. The projects examine the sources, structures and consequences of inequalities in contemporary societies. The programme is funded by NORFACE for the period 2017–2021.

EU flag shown in acknowledgment of EU funding

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 724363

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