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1 Pensions and Partnerships: some implications of relationship breakdown GENET Conference: Partnership Breakdown Queens College, Cambridge Friday 7th March.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Pensions and Partnerships: some implications of relationship breakdown GENET Conference: Partnership Breakdown Queens College, Cambridge Friday 7th March."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Pensions and Partnerships: some implications of relationship breakdown GENET Conference: Partnership Breakdown Queens College, Cambridge Friday 7th March 2008 Debbie Price Institute of Gerontology, Kings College London

2 2 The Pension Problem for Women UK Pension structure relies heavily on private pension accumulation; Strongly associated with history of paid work; Women acutely disadvantaged – histories of breaks in paid work and low earnings; poor employer provision Poverty of women in old age now widely acknowledged (esp. divorced, but also widowed); Widespread gender inequalities in income in later life; Women are by far the majority of pensioners, but the current system of accrual of (all) pension rights does not provide women with adequate income in old age.

3 3 The Social Dimension to Pensions Changes in labour markets Flexible working, Part-time working Employers pension provision Which sectors, working for how long, and earning how much? Changes in family formation Later child-birth, partnering, separation motherhood & marriage Increasing risk of partnership breakdown, serial partnerships Increasing risk of living alone ? Changes in gender roles and identities

4 4 Gendered households, gendered labour Within couples, women take on care work Men work long hours, take responsibility For family income Women who care cant compete In the labour market Women take low paid, flexible work In female dominated industries Womens work is low paid, with poor working conditions Gendered Identities and Dependencies Adapted from Bellamy and Rake (2005)

5 5 Inequality of Earnings Research into the management of household money shows that –Household resources are not shared equally –Spending differs between men & women (e.g. women spend on children and child care) –Financial inequality is a source of power and conflict within the household Some financial behaviours are associated with the degree of inequality in a relationship Earnings inequality leads to choices in the household division of labour which in turn leads to lower lifetime earning for dependent partners Earnings inequality becomes especially important when couples separate

6 6 Legal Context Men and women within couple relationships are rarely financial equals because of gender divisions and norms in society Increasing legal recognition of non-marital domestic relationships - property and income rights recently extended to same-sex cohabitants Opposite sex cohabitants have very limited legal remedies – confined to trust law Law Commission currently looking at law reform

7 7 Earnings Inequality and Changing Family Forms Are those who choose not to marry displaying a particular type of independence which implies greater gender equality of earnings? Issue: regulation of legal marriage to redress gender inequalities in earnings –Maintenance, division of assets & pensions, use of NI contribution record, inheritance rights –Little financial redress after breakdown of cohabitation Does different marital status of itself imply that earnings inequalities and financial behaviours are different? Are cohabitants more equal than legally married?

8 8 Data Presented Today How important is motherhood in considering pension provision? How does earnings inequality within the household relate to pension provision? Pension provision is linked to labour market participation, but is it also linked to provider role? In terms of within-couple earnings inequality, how different are legally married and unmarried cohabitants? How is motherhood associated with earnings inequality for different types of cohabitants? What are the implications for pension provision?

9 9 Data GHS 2001 & 2002 combined; values are as at 2002 About 13,000 households in each year, response rate c. 70% Between ages of 20 and 59 10,314 men, 11,087 women 6,141 couples Third tier pensions – pension over and above the (low) compulsory level of pension provision Cross-sectional data: age/cohort effects cant be distinguished; nor individual trajectories & selection effects

10 10 Children and Earnings 54% of mothers with a child under 5 are in employment, 66% with a child under 16; the majority part-time 91% of fathers are in employment, almost all full time Fathers work the longest hours of all men The motherhood pay gap, the fatherhood premium

11 11 Source: General Household Survey 2000/1 and 2001/2, mothers whose dependent children live elsewhere, and those looking after others children have been excluded; authors analysis

12 12 Source: General Household Survey 2000/1 and 2001/2, mothers whose dependent children live elsewhere, and those looking after others children have been excluded; authors analysis

13 13 Degree of Earnings Inequality within Couples: Women aged 20 to 59

14 14

15 15 Influence of degree of inequality (dependence) after multivariate analysis: likelihood of contributing to a third tier pension

16 16 Marital History of Currently Cohabiting, MenWomen n=% % Never married cohabitants First marriage 4, , Separated from 1st mar, cohab Divorced once, cohab Widowed once, cohab Second marriage More than two marriages have ended (either married 3+ or cohabiting now) All cohabiting 6,416100%7,276100% Source: GHS 2001 and 2002

17 17 Does legal marital status make a difference to the extent of womens inequality of earnings? Source: General Household Surveys, 2001 and 2002, authors analysis

18 18 Cohabiting Women: Extent of Earnings Inequality % of joint earnings NM1 st MarDiv2 nd MarAll 0% %-20% %-40% %-60% % Total100 n=

19 19 WOMEN NM cohab1st marDiv cohab2nd mar % Mean Age% % % Never had a child Ch Ch Children 16+ (home or gone) All100%29100%42100%42100%46 n=8495, Source: GHS 2001 and 2002 Cohabiting women aged 20 – 59, proportions with children & mean age in each marital status

20 20 Loglinear Model Used here to examine, for men and women separately, the four way contingency table: –Earnings inequality in couple, grouped (I) –Marital Status (M) –Age group of youngest dependent child in the family (C) –Age group of Respondent (A) Association between marital status and inequality does NOT improve the model fit

21 21 Conclusions: Women In considering earnings inequality within partnerships, marital status is not an explanatory variable. Motherhood and how old women are is largely determinative of the degree of inequality in their partnerships, whether cohabiting, divorced or married for the first or second time. Cohabiting women mimic married women in patterns of gender relations in the household.

22 22 Percentage in third tier pension schemes by partnership status: men and women aged WomenMen Never married, lone3536 Never married, couple4052 First Marriage4065 Separated, lone2958 Divorced, lone3340 Divorced, couple4558 Widowed, lone2747 Second marriage3856 Complex history3539 Source: GHS 2001 & 2002

23 23 Children and divorced (lone) mothers Source: General Household Surveys 2001 & 2002

24 24 Mothers with dependent children: odds ratios comparing pension scheme participation according to legal status – multivariate analysis * * * * * * * * * * Statistically significant at <7%

25 25 Conclusions Lack of pension accumulation is largely related to motherhood Within relationships motherhood is related to low earnings and inequality of earnings; both are related to lack of pension provision Once age and motherhood are taken into account, there are no differences between cohabiting women and married women in the degree of earnings inequality in their relationships Other things being equal, never married lone & cohabiting women & lone mothers post separation are far less likely than married women to be participating in third tier pensions (especially with older children)

26 26 Policy implications Couples appear to behave (financially) in very similar ways whether married or not married Financial disadvantages to mothers are substantial and long lasting Lack of legal redress for cohabitants is out of step with the way that men and women live their lives


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