Booms, Busts, and Divorce
For almost a century, anecdotes have suggested that divorce rates decline during recessions. However, until very recently there has been surprisingly little formal empirical evidence on whether such a link exists, let alone its magnitude if it does. Moreover, the anticipated direction of the effect is ambiguous theoretically. Although previous studies have concluded that individual job loss destabilizes marriages, macroeconomic conditions may affect divorce probabilities even for those not directly experiencing a job shock. We add to the few existing contemporaneous studies of the effects of macroeconomic shocks on divorce by conducting an empirical analysis of the relationship between state-level unemployment rates and state-level divorce rates using vital statistics data on divorces in the United States from 1976-2009. We find a significant and robust negative relationship between the unemployment and divorce rates, whereby a one percentage point rise in the unemployment rate is associated with a decrease of 0.043 divorces per one thousand people, or about a one percent fall in the divorce rate. The result that divorce is pro-cyclical is robust to a host of alternative empirical specifications, to disaggregating by state characteristics and time period, to expanding the unemployment series back to 1970, and to using alternative measures of local economic conditions.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 11 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (August)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://www.degruyter.com|
|Order Information:||Web: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejeap|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Perry Singleton, 2012.
"Insult to Injury: Disability, Earnings, and Divorce,"
Journal of Human Resources,
University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(4), pages 972-990.
- Perry Singleton, 2009. "Insult to Injury: Disability, Earnings, and Divorce," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-25, Center for Retirement Research, revised Nov 2009.
- Marika Jalovaara, 2003. "The joint effects of marriage partners’ socioeconomic positions on the risk of divorce," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(1), pages 67-81, February.
- Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
- Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415.
- Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1.
- Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Lillard & Steven Stern, 2006. "Cohabitation, Marriage, And Divorce In A Model Of Match Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 451-494, May.
- Steven Stern & Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Lillard, 1999. "Cohabitation, Marriage, and Divorce in a Model of Match Quality," Virginia Economics Online Papers 322, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
- Steven Ruggles, 1997. "The rise of divorce and separation in the United States, 1880–1990," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(4), pages 455-466, November.
- Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1802-1820, December.
- Justin Wolfers, 2003. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," NBER Working Papers 10014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," Research Papers 1819, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
- Scott Hankins & Mark Hoekstra, 2011. "Lucky in Life, Unlucky in Love?: The Effect of Random Income Shocks on Marriage and Divorce," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(2), pages 403-426.
- Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
- Jeremy Arkes & Yu-Chu Shen, 2010. "For Better or for Worse, But How About a Recession?," NBER Working Papers 16525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," NBER Working Papers 5570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens, 2004. "Job Displacement, Disability, and Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 489-522, April.
- Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens Jr., 2001. "Job Displacement, Disability, and Divorce," NBER Working Papers 8578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Firm-specific Capital and Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1246-1260, December.
- Voram Ben-Porath, 1973. "Short-term fluctuations in fertility and economic activity in Israel," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 10(2), pages 185-204, May. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)