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You can’t be happier than your wife. Happiness gaps and divorce

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  • Guven, Cahit
  • Senik, Claudia
  • Stichnoth, Holger

Abstract

Based on three large panel surveys, this paper shows that happiness gaps between spouses are a good predictor of future divorce. The effect of happiness gaps is asymmetric: couples are more likely to break-up when the woman is the less happy partner. De facto, divorces appear to be initiated predominantly by women who are less happy than their husband. This asymmetry suggests that the effect of happiness gaps is grounded on motives of relative deprivation (i.e. comparisons of happiness between spouses) rather than on a preference for equal happiness.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 82 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 110-130

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:82:y:2012:i:1:p:110-130

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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Keywords: Happiness; Divorce; Comparisons; Panel; Households; Marriage;

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References

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Divorce and the happiness gap
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-02-17 15:41:00
  2. Se o marido for mais feliz do que a esposa, é divórcio quase certo
    by Thiago Perin in Ciência Maluca on 2010-05-21 17:46:21
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Leonardo Becchetti & Riccardo Massari & Paolo Naticchioni, 2011. "The drivers of happiness inequality: Suggestions for promoting social cohesion," Working Papers 2011-06, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche.
  2. Vladimir Otrachshenko & Olga Popova, 2012. "Life (Dis)satisfaction and the Decision to Migrate: Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp460, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  3. Matthias Fahn & Ray Rees, 2011. "Household Relational Contracts for Marriage, Fertility and Divorce," CESifo Working Paper Series 3655, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Susanne Elsas, 2013. "Pooling and Sharing Income within Households: A Satisfaction Approach," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 587, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  5. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00564985 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Bruce Headey & Ruud Muffels & Gert G. Wagner, 2012. "Parents Transmit Happiness along with Associated Values and Behaviors to Their Children: A Lifelong Happiness Divided?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 492, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  7. Ruud Muffels & Bruce Headey, 2013. "Capabilities and Choices: Do They Make Sen’se for Understanding Objective and Subjective Well-Being? An Empirical Test of Sen’s Capability Framework on German and British Panel Data," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 1159-1185, February.
  8. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2013. "Happiness economics," SERIEs, Spanish Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 35-60, March.
  9. Krauss, Alexander & Graham, Carol, 2013. "Subjective wellbeing in Colombia : some insights on vulnerability, job security, and relative incomes," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6672, The World Bank.
  10. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Kawaguchi, Daiji & Lee, Jungmin, 2014. "Does Labor Legislation Benefit Workers? Well-Being after an Hours Reduction," IZA Discussion Papers 8077, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. de Moura, Mauricio Jose Serpa Barros & da Silveira Bueno, Rodrigo De Losso, 2013. "Land title program in Brazil: Are there any changes to happiness?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 196-203.

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