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Marriage and consumption insurance: what's love got to do with it?

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  • Gregory D. Hess

Abstract

This paper explores marriage’s role when markets are incomplete and individuals cannot diversify their idiosyncratic labor income risk. All else being equal, an individual would rather marry a “hedge” (a person whose income is negatively correlated with her own) because doing so raises her expected utility. However, the existence of love complicates the picture: Although marrying a hedge is important, an individual may not do so if she finds someone with whom she shares a great deal of love. Is love more important to a lasting marriage than economic compatibility? To answer this question, the author develops a simple model in which rational individuals meet, enjoy marriage’s economic and nonpecuniary benefits (i.e., love), and then must decide whether to remain married or divorce.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 0104.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:0104

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Keywords: Consumption (Economics);

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  1. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-79, June.
  2. Hess, Gregory D. & Shin, Kwanho, 1998. "Intranational business cycles in the United States," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 289-313, April.
  3. David K. Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe & Finn E. Kydland, 1991. "International real business cycles," Staff Report 146, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Avia Spivak, 1979. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," UCLA Economics Working Papers 151, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Masao Ogaki & Qiang Zhang, 2000. "Decreasing Relative Risk Aversion and Tests of Risk Sharing," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1588, Econometric Society.
  6. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Hess, G.D. & Shin, K., 1999. "Risk Sharing of Disaggregate Macroeconomic and Idiosyncratic Shocks," Papers 9915, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  8. Susan Dynarski & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Can Families Smooth Variable Earnings?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 229-303.
  9. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 1985. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(4), pages 370-79, October.
  10. Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-56, October.
  11. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Stark, Oded, 1989. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration, and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 905-26, August.
  12. Gregory D. Hess & Kwanho Shin, 1997. "Risk sharing by households within and across regions and industries," Research Working Paper 97-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  13. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  14. Johansen, Soren & Juselius, Katarina, 1990. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation and Inference on Cointegration--With Applications to the Demand for Money," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(2), pages 169-210, May.
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  1. Cheryl & Cashley: the economics
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2008-01-28 16:40:42
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