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Sin City? Why is the Divorce Rate Higher in Urban Areas?

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  • Pieter A. Gautier
  • Michael Svarer
  • Coen N. Teulings

Abstract

Divorce rates are higher in cities. Based on Danish register data, this paper shows that of the marriages formed in the city, those couples who remain in the city have a 23% higher divorce rate than those who move out. In this paper, we test whether this observation is due to sorting of more stable marriages into rural areas or if there exists a causal effect of living in urban areas on marriage instability. Our identification strategy supplements the timing-of-events approach with an instrumental variable. Our findings suggest that the effect of living in an urban area on the divorce risks drops substantially and loses statistical significance once we address sorting. Copyright © The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics" 2009. .

Suggested Citation

  • Pieter A. Gautier & Michael Svarer & Coen N. Teulings, 2009. "Sin City? Why is the Divorce Rate Higher in Urban Areas?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(3), pages 439-456, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:111:y:2009:i:3:p:439-456
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-454, June.
    2. Burdett Kenneth & Imai Ryoichi & Wright Randall, 2004. "Unstable Relationships," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-44, January.
    3. Lillard, Lee A., 1993. "Simultaneous equations for hazards : Marriage duration and fertility timing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1-2), pages 189-217, March.
    4. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1997. "Match Quality, New Information, and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 293-329, January.
    5. Michael Svarer & Mette Verner, 2008. "Do children stabilize relationships in Denmark?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(2), pages 395-417, April.
    6. Piketty, Thomas, 2003. "The Impact of Divorce on School Performance: Evidence from France, 1968-2002," CEPR Discussion Papers 4146, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1491-1517, September.
    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. Michael Svarer, 2004. "Is Your Love in Vain? Another Look at Premarital Cohabitation and Divorce," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
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    Cited by:

    1. Sanna Huikari & Marko Korhonen & Mikko Puhakka, 2016. "’Til booze do us part: alcohol consumption and marital dissolution," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 831-852, September.

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