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The U.S. Divorce Rate: The 1960s Surge Versus Its Long-Run Determinants

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  • Nunley, John
  • Zietz, Joachim

Abstract

This study investigates the determinants of the U.S. divorce rate from 1929 to 2006, with particular emphasis on explaining its surge in the mid-1960s. The main finding is that the divorce rate and female labor-force participation, or equivalently female participation in higher education, are endogenous variables that are linked by a negative, long-run relationship. The availability of oral contraception shifted this negative relationship to a new, higher level of divorce rates during the late-1960s and early-1970s. The Vietnam War also contributed to the rise in the divorce rate at that time. The results are very robust to different estimation methodologies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 16317.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision: Dec 2008
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16317

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Related research

Keywords: divorce rate; female labor-force participation; female participation in higher education; oral contraceptives; unilateral divorce laws; Vietnam War;

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References

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  1. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
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  4. Sen, Bisakha, 2000. "How important is anticipation of divorce in married women's labor supply decisions? An intercohort comparison using NLS data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 209-216, May.
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  8. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
  9. Martha J Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320, 02.
  10. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Juselius, Katarina, 2006. "The Cointegrated VAR Model: Methodology and Applications," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199285679, September.
  15. Smith, Ian, 1997. "Explaining the Growth of Divorce in Great Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 44(5), pages 519-44, November.
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Cited by:
  1. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Breaks in the breaks: An analysis of divorce rates in Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 242-255.

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