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With or Without You: Time Use Complementarities and Divorce Rate in the US

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  • Domenico Tabasso

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Abstract

In the last twenty years the divorce rate in the United States has being decreasing, differentiating the US trend from those of most Western countries. In this paper I explore the possibility to study this phenomenon by relating the patterns in the divorce rates to the role played by �time use complementarities� within the household. The changes in time consumption of couples in the last forty years are used as proxies for the changes in consumption habits and are analyzed through the American Time Use Data. The relation between time management and the likelihood of divorce is then studied making use of several datasets from the National Longitudinal Study, covering the period 1967-2004. The results show the emergence of relevant differences in the way American couples shape their time together during the last four decades. Spouses devote more time to joint leisure activities, while togetherness does not relate anymore to household chores and childcare. Furthermore the link between the way partners share household responsibilities and the hazard rate of divorce tends to vanish over time, suggesting a reduction in production complementarities as a deciding factor in the success of marriages.

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Paper provided by University of Essex, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 674.

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Date of creation: 29 Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:674

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  1. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2006. "Time to Eat: Household Production under Increasing Income Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1965, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521608275, April.
  3. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2004. "Marriage and Divorce since World War II: Analyzing the Role of Technological Progress on the Formation of Households," NBER Working Papers 10772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Stratton, Leslie S., 2008. "Institutions, Social Norms, and Bargaining Power: An Analysis of Individual Leisure Time in Couple Households," IZA Discussion Papers 3773, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Raquel Fernández & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2005. "Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 273-344, January.
  6. Abbring, Jaap H & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2007. "The Unobserved Heterogeneity Distribution in Duration Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 6219, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," IZA Discussion Papers 2602, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Vicky Barham & Rose Anne Devlin, 2004. "A Theory of Rational Marriage and Divorce," Working Papers 0405E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  9. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2001. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262232197, December.
  10. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2007. "AJAE Appendix: Time to Eat: Household Production Under Increasing Income Inequality," American Journal of Agricultural Economics Appendices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(4), November.
  11. Matthew J. Baker & Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2003. "Marriage, Specialization, and the Gender Division of Labor," Departmental Working Papers 1, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
  12. Imran Rasul, 2006. "Marriage Markets and Divorce Laws," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 30-69, April.
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