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Education, Communication and Wellbeing: An Application to Sexual Satisfaction

  • Helmut Rainer
  • Ian Smith

Standard theories of household decision making assume that family members have complete information about preferences and are able to reach efficient outcomes. However, partners in intimate relationships may often need to coordinate their choices in the face of incomplete information. To reduce uncertainty there is an incentive for partners to acquire information through communication. In this study we investigate empirically the determinants of communication between partners and its consequences in the specific context of sexual satisfaction. In particular we show the importance of schooling for information acquisition effort. Although education indirectly improves sexual satisfaction through the communication mechanism, we also find direct adverse effects of schooling on sexual wellbeing. This is interpreted in terms of opportunity cost effect arising from the market returns to schooling that make it more difficult to coordinate work and love lives. The econometric estimates show that the positive communication effects of education vanish at longer relationship durations as couples learn about their preferences. While sexual satisfaction is positively correlated with life satisfaction, it is only when controlling for sexual wellbeing that schooling has a statistically signification association with overall life satisfaction.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Kyklos.

Volume (Year): 65 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 581-598

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Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:65:y:2012:i:4:p:581-598
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