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Workaholism and marital estrangement: A rational-choice perspective

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  • Yaniv, Gideon
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    Abstract

    Workaholism is an addiction to work. It is a major source of marital estrangement and breakdown as well as a severe threat to physical and psychological health. While addiction to harmful goods has gained considerable attention in the economic literature, addiction to work, with one recent exception, has totally escaped economists' notice, despite the growing concern with its devastating consequences. The present paper makes a second step in applying economic reasoning to this problem, developing a dynamic model of rational workaholism. The model demonstrates that it is not necessary for work to be addictive per se in order to exhibit an addictive pattern throughout which work intensity monotonically increases with time. Marital estrangement alone may inflame the desire for work, which in turn further exacerbates estrangement. The model determines the optimal intensity of work and quality of marriage for the workaholic over time, showing that even a happily married, forward-looking individual might be swept into an addictive course of excessive work that leads to marital breakdown.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V88-51M0N5W-1/2/006aca35aeb9ac8026f3721323359523
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Mathematical Social Sciences.

    Volume (Year): 61 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 104-108

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:matsoc:v:61:y:2011:i:2:p:104-108

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505565

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    Keywords: Workaholism Marital estrangement Marital breakdown Marital capital Rational addiction Optimal control;

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    1. repec:ltr:wpaper:1994.21 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Brian S. Ferguson, 2000. "Interpreting the rational addiction model," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(7), pages 587-598.
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    4. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Joel Slemrod, 2005. "The Economics of Workaholism: We Should Not Have Worked on This Paper," NBER Working Papers 11566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    8. Leonard, Daniel, 1989. "Market behavior of rational addicts," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 117-144, March.
    9. Nilss Olekalns & Peter Bardsley, 1994. "Rational Addiction to Caffeine: an Analysis of Coffee Consumption," Working Papers 1994.21, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    10. Dockner,Engelbert J. & Jorgensen,Steffen & Long,Ngo Van & Sorger,Gerhard, 2000. "Differential Games in Economics and Management Science," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521637329, October.
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