The Consequences of Partner Incarceration for Women’s Employment

Angela Bruns, University of Washington

The upward trend in the incarceration rate has important collateral consequences for families. Although dealing with family stresses created by men’s incarceration falls primarily to the women they leave behind, little research focuses on how women manage these stresses. Most men provide financial support for their families before imprisonment, and their removal leads to a reduction in women’s household income. This paper uses the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to investigate the relationship between men’s incarceration and changes in employment for their female partners. It also examines mechanisms through which partner incarceration impacts women’s employment, with a focus on changes in economic wellbeing, stress, and health. Analyses also explore how demographic and household characteristic (i.e. whether a woman lives with her partner) alters the relationship. Preliminary results indicate that women with recently incarcerated partners are more likely than other women to increase and to decrease their hours of work.

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 Presented in Session P2. Data and Methods/Applied Demography/ Spatial Demography/ Demography of Crime