Intermarriage and housing upon separation. A matter of resources and bargaining power?



This paper examines post-separation residential outcomes in immigrant, native, and immigrant–native mixed (married and cohabiting) couples.


Previous research showed that women were more likely to leave the family home upon separation than men, indicating a weaker bargaining position.


Using linked survey and register data from Switzerland, we estimate two post-separation mobility outcomes: who leaves the family home and to what distance this person relocates. By distinguishing male and female partners by migrant origin, we consider how gendered power imbalances interact with migration status to create specific bargaining dynamics within households.


Among immigrant–native mixed couples, the immigrant ex-partner (regardless of gender) was significantly more likely to move out of the joint home following separation. The likelihood of moving (abroad) after separation was highest for recently arrived immigrant women.


The results suggest that migration status brings in a new dimension of bargaining within separating couples, which affects the gender-specific residential mobility outcomes reported in previous studies. Although family migration decisions are generally biased toward the human capital of men, this study shows the advantage of the native partner in immigrant–native couples.

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