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Reexamining the Economics of Marital Infidelity


  • Joel Potter

    () (North Georgia College and State University)


This study utilizes data from the National Youth Survey to reevaluate key conclusions made by Fair (1978). While Fair (1978) used data collected from mail-in surveys, the National Youth Survey was collected using standard probability techniques. This paper also extends Fair (1978), by including an explicit variable for wage rate. While this study supports some of Fair's empirical findings, other estimates contradict Fair in several key ways. For example, this paper finds that the coefficients of occupation and education are both statistically significant but the signs are opposite to those in Fair (1978). An even more noteworthy contradiction is the negative relationship between years of marriage and infidelity; this suggests that marriage longevity is positively related to that of match quality of the relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Joel Potter, 2011. "Reexamining the Economics of Marital Infidelity," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(1), pages 41-52.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-10-00563

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    Cited by:

    1. Kuroki, Masanori, 2013. "Opposite-sex coworkers and marital infidelity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 71-73.
    2. repec:spr:jqecon:v:16:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s40953-017-0081-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Batabyal, Amitrajeet & Beladi, Hamid, 2016. "Cheating on Your Spouse: A Game-Theoretic Analysis," MPRA Paper 75758, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Adamopoulou, Effrosyni, 2013. "New facts on infidelity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 458-462.

    More about this item


    extramarital affairs; marriage; wages; match quality;

    JEL classification:

    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs


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