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Desperate Housewives? Communication Difficulties and the Dynamics of Marital (un)Happiness

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  • Peter Thompson

Abstract

The quality of a marriage depends on the proximity of a collective action to a unknown target. Individuals receive private signals about the target, and can communicate them only imperfectly to their spouses. Because of imperfect communication, spouses may hold different beliefs about the optimal action. If a couple's beliefs diverge too widely, one or both of them may prefer to dissolve the marriage. The article explores how poor communication contributes to marital unhappiness, as well as its implications for the dynamics of divorce risk, the welfare properties of divorce decisions and the role of counselling. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2008.

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  • Peter Thompson, 2008. "Desperate Housewives? Communication Difficulties and the Dynamics of Marital (un)Happiness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1640-1669, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:118:y:2008:i:532:p:1640-1669
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    Cited by:

    1. Guven, Cahit & Senik, Claudia & Stichnoth, Holger, 2012. "You can’t be happier than your wife. Happiness gaps and divorce," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 110-130.
    2. Cahit Guven & Claudia Senik & Holger Stichnoth, 2011. "You can't be happier than your wife. Happiness Gaps and Divorce," Working Papers halshs-00555427, HAL.
    3. Peter Thompson & Jing Chen, 2011. "Disagreements, employee spinoffs and the choice of technology," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(3), pages 455-474, July.
    4. Klepper, Steven & Thompson, Peter, 2010. "Disagreements and intra-industry spinoffs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 526-538, September.

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