wives pay price for workaholic men, paternity leave means less divorce

You want a good window into the work/life souls of the U.S. and Sweden?

Come with me.

An old high school classmate tipped me off to a new Cornell study.  It is titled: Reinforcing Separate Spheres: The Effect of Spousal Overwork on Men’s and Women’s Employment in Dual-Earner Households.

What does that mean?  That the more hours an American man works, the more sacrifices his wife makes.  The following quote from the author is from a press release on the study:

As long work-hours introduce conflict between work and family into many dual-earner families, couples often resolve conflict in ways that prioritize husbands’ careers. Having a husband who works long hours significantly increases a woman’s likelihood of quitting, while having a wife who works long hours does not affect a man’s likelihood of quitting.

Now here is a Swedish doctoral dissertation from 2002.  What does it say about paternity leave? (which, by definition, is the opposite of being a workaholic)

It says that if a man takes paternity leave, that couple is less likely to divorce, and they are more likely to have more children.  From a newspaper article on the dissertation (another rough Google translation job):

In families where the father had parental leave with the first child, the likelihood of divorce is almost 30 percent lower than in families where the father has not been on parental leave, according to a doctoral thesis by Livia Oláh at the Department of Sociology at Stockholm University.

“I believe that women in Sweden have learned to make demands. They have lived with gender ideology since the late 60s, ” Olah said when the thesis was released.

Yes, there are many workaholic Swedes, and, yes, there are millions of American dads that prioritize their family.  But, still, I am making a broader point, and I think it is one that holds true.


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