The conventional optics of social stratification research—in which the social position of the family unit is seen as being determined by the status of the male head of the household—has been challenged since the early 1970s. Economic research has also questioned the approach that views the household as a single unit. Given the changing circumstances affecting the family and the increasing proportion of couples with female primacy in terms of earnings, education, and socio-economic category, these approaches should be re-formulated. To demonstrate the issue, the authors use the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey (EU-SILC) for five Central European countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria) in two ways. Using its 2006–2016 time series, they show the characteristics of partners in couples and the relations between them. While the share of dual-earner couples increased in all of the countries analysed, the percentage of couples with dependent children decreased and the percentage of cohabitating couples increased. Female primacy has increased in some criteria – earnings, education, socio-economic category – in all countries except Hungary. Also, using the EU-SILC 2010 ‘Module on Intra-household Sharing of Resources’, the authors test the hypothesis that there might be a direct link between partners’ social status split and separate welfare status. Social status split is assumed to be proxied by female primacy in relevant characteristics, while separate welfare status is indicated by partners’ budgetary discretion. The analysis produces somewhat ambiguous results, supporting the hypothesis for Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, but not for Hungary and Poland. Apart from the personal factors of social status split, two family factors are strongly related to the probability of the budgetary discretion of couple partners across all countries: household income and marital status.
Večerník, Jiří, Mysíková, Martina. 2019. „Setting Social Status in Couples and Partners’ Budgetary Discretion in Central European Countries.“ Sociologický časopis/Czech Sociological Review 55 (6): 791-820. Dostupné z: https://sreview.soc.cas.cz/pdfs/csr/2019/06/04.pdf.