Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Women's emancipation through education: a macroeconomic analysis

Contents:

Author Info

  • Fatih Guvenen
  • Michelle Rendall

Abstract

In this paper, we study the role of education as insurance against a bad marriage. Historically, due to disparities in earning power and education across genders, married women often found themselves in an economically vulnerable position, and had to suffer one of two fates in a bad marriage: either they get divorced (assuming it is available) and struggle as low-income single mothers, or they remain trapped in the marriage. In both cases, education can provide a route to emancipation for women. To investigate this idea, we build and estimate an equilibrium search model with education, marriage/divorce/remarriage, and household labor supply decisions. A key feature of the model is that women bear a larger share of the divorce burden, mainly because they are more closely tied to their children relative to men. Our focus on education is motivated by the fact that divorce laws typically allow spouses to keep the future returns from their human capital upon divorce (unlike their physical assets), making education a good insurance against divorce risk. However, as women further their education, the earnings gap between spouses shrinks, leading to more unstable marriages and, in turn, further increasing demand for education. The framework generates powerful amplification mechanisms, which lead to a large rise in divorce rates and a decline in marriage rates (similar to those observed in the US data) from relatively modest exogenous driving forces. Further, in the model, women overtake men in college attainment during the 1990s, a feature of the data that has proved challenging to explain. Our counterfactual experiments indicate that the divorce law reform of the 1970s played an important role in all of these trends, explaining more than one-quarter of college attainment rate of women post-1970s and one-half of the rise in labor supply for married women.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/pub_display.cfm?id=5088
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/wp/wp704.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 704.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:704

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 90 Hennepin Avenue, P.O. Box 291, Minneapolis, MN 55480-0291
Phone: (612) 204-5000
Web page: http://minneapolisfed.org/
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Email:
Web: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/pubs/

Related research

Keywords: Marriage ; Women - Education;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
  2. Nezih Guner & Georgi Kocharkov & Cezar Santos & Jeremy Greenwood, 2012. "Technology And The Changing Family: A Unified Model Of Marriage, Divorce, Educational Attainment And Married Female Labor-Force Participation," 2012 Meeting Papers 168, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Alejandrina Salcedo & Todd Schoellman & Michèle Tertilt, 2010. "Families as Roommates: Changes in U.S. Household Size from 1850 to 2000," Working Papers 2010-07, Banco de México.
  4. Libertad González Luna & Tarja K. Viitanen, 2006. "The effect of divorce laws on divorce rates in Europe," Economics Working Papers 986, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. Gianluca Violante & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Education Decisions, Equilibrium Policies and Wages Dispersion," 2005 Meeting Papers 522, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Goldin, Claudia & Kuziemko, Ilyana & Katz, Lawrence, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Scholarly Articles 2962611, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Michelle Rendall, 2010. "Brain versus Brawn: The Realization of Women's Comparative Advantage," 2010 Meeting Papers 926, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu, 2010. "A Quantitative Analysis of the Evolution of the U.S. Wage Distribution, 1970-2000," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 227-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Women's emancipation: more education and more divorces
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-05-23 14:41:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Paula GOBBI, 2013. "Childcare and Commitment within Households," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013019, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  2. repec:fip:fedreq:y:2011:i:3q:p:255-326:n:vol.97no.3 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Raquel Fernández & Joyce Cheng Wong, 2014. "Free to Leave? A Welfare Analysis of Divorce Regimes," NBER Working Papers 20251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:704. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Janelle Ruswick).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.