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Do divorcing couples become happier by breaking up?

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  • Jonathan Gardner
  • Andrew J. Oswald

Abstract

Summary. Divorce is a leap in the dark. The paper investigates whether people who split up actually become happier. Using the British Household Panel Survey, we can observe an individual's level of psychological well‐being in the years before and after divorce. Our results show that divorcing couples reap psychological gains from the dissolution of their marriages. Men and women benefit equally. The paper also studies the effects of bereavement, of having dependant children and of remarriage. We measure well‐being by using general health questionnaire and life satisfaction scores.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Gardner & Andrew J. Oswald, 2006. "Do divorcing couples become happier by breaking up?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(2), pages 319-336, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jorssa:v:169:y:2006:i:2:p:319-336
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-985X.2006.00403.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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