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Cultural and Socioeconomic Influences on Divorce During Modernization: Southeast Asia, 1940s to 1960s

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  • Charles Hirschman
  • Bussarawan Teerawichitchainan

Abstract

The conventional model of a rising divorce rate during the process of modernization is a staple element of the sociological theory of the family. This generalization is challenged, however, by traditional high-divorce societies, primarily in Islamic Southeast Asia, which have experienced a "decline" in divorce with modernization. In this study, based on micro-level survey data, the authors explore the social roots of marital disruption in Indonesia and Malaysia and in another Southeast Asian society, Thailand, which has not been identified as a high-divorce society. Comparable survey data from the 1970s (from the World Fertility Survey) allow for an in-depth analysis of traditional patterns of divorce before the rapid modernization of recent decades. Two major findings emerge from the multivariate analysis. First, there is a common pattern across all three societies of higher levels of divorce among "traditional" women-those who live in rural areas, marry at young ages, and have lower levels of education. Second, the authors find significant sociocultural (ethnic, regional, religious) differentials in divorce within each country that cannot be explained by demographic and socioeconomic composition. They present an interpretation of how moderately high levels of divorce were accommodated in traditional Southeast Asian societies. Copyright 2003 by The Population Council, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Hirschman & Bussarawan Teerawichitchainan, 2003. "Cultural and Socioeconomic Influences on Divorce During Modernization: Southeast Asia, 1940s to 1960s," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 29(2), pages 215-253.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:29:y:2003:i:2:p:215-253
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Hassan Fereidouni Gholipour, 2016. "Divorce and the cost of housing: evidence from Iran," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 1029-1054, December.
    2. Rasul, Imran, 2008. "Household bargaining over fertility: Theory and evidence from Malaysia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 215-241, June.
    3. repec:dem:demres:v:36:y:2017:i:50 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Deniz Yucel, 2016. "Together, Forever? Correlates of Marital Well-Being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 257-269, January.
    5. Thomas Hills & Peter Todd, 2008. "Population Heterogeneity and Individual Differences in an Assortative Agent-Based Marriage and Divorce Model (MADAM) Using Search with Relaxing Expectations," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 11(4), pages 1-5.
    6. Elyse A. Jennings, 2016. "Predictors of Marital Dissolution During a Period of Rapid Social Change: Evidence From South Asia," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(5), pages 1351-1375, October.
    7. Deniz Yucel, 2016. "Together, Forever? Correlates of Marital Well-Being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 257-269, January.
    8. Cooke, Lynn P. & Erola, Jani & Evertsson, Marie & Gähler, Michael & Härkönen, Juho & Hewitt, Belinda & Jalovaara, Marika & Kan, Man-Yee & Lyngstad, Torkild Hovde & Mencarini, Letizia & Mignot, Jean-Fr, 2013. "Labor and Love: Wives' Employment and Divorce Risk in its Socio-political Context," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 482-509.

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