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

  • Peter Thompson

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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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 118 (2008)
Issue (Month): 532 (October)
Pages: 1640-1669

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:118:y:2008:i:532:p:1640-1669
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  1. Burdett, Kenneth & Coles, Melvyn G, 1999. "Long-Term Partnership Formation: Marriage and Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F307-34, June.
  2. Qi Chen & Wei Jiang, 2006. "Analysts' Weighting of Private and Public Information," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 319-355.
  3. Peter Thompson & Steven Klepper, 2005. "Spinoff Entry in High-tech Industries: Motives and Consequences," Working Papers 0503, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  4. Xinhua Gu & Padma Rao Sahib, 2002. ""Living in sin" and marriage: A matching model," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 261-282.
  5. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
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  8. Busenitz, Lowell W. & Barney, Jay B., 1997. "Differences between entrepreneurs and managers in large organizations: Biases and heuristics in strategic decision-making," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 9-30, January.
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