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Women's Emancipation through Education: A Macroeconomic Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Fatih Guvenen

    (University of Minnesota)

  • Michelle Rendall

    (University of Zurich)

Abstract

We study the role of education as insurance against a bad marriage in light of changing divorce laws during the 1970s. We build and estimate an equilibrium search model with education, marriage/divorce/remarriage, and household labor supply decisions. A key feature of the model is that women bear a larger share of the divorce burden, mainly because they are more closely tied to their children relative to men. Our focus on education is motivated by the fact that divorce laws typically allow spouses to keep the future returns from their human capital upon divorce (unlike their physical assets), making education a good insurance in divorce. In the model, women overtake men in college attainment during the 1990s, a feature of the data that has proved challenging to explain. Our counterfactual experiments indicate that the divorce law reform of the 1970s played an important role in these trends, explaining more than one-quarter of college attainment rate of women post-1970s and one-half of the rise in labor supply for married women. Further, results suggest a higher insurance value of education in divorce than marriage market signaling benefits of education especially for women post divorce reform. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Fatih Guvenen & Michelle Rendall, 2015. "Women's Emancipation through Education: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(4), pages 931-956, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:14-159
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2014.11.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    2. Raquel Fernández & Joyce Cheng Wong, 2014. "Free to Leave? A Welfare Analysis of Divorce Regimes," NBER Working Papers 20251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Chakraborty, Indraneel & Holter, Hans A. & Stepanchuk, Serhiy, 2015. "Marriage stability, taxation and aggregate labor supply in the U.S. vs. Europe," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 1-20.
    4. Davoine, Thomas & Mankart, Jochen, 2017. "Changes in education, wage inequality and working hours over time," Discussion Papers 38/2017, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    5. repec:eee:jetheo:v:176:y:2018:i:c:p:503-551 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. John Kennes & John Knowles, 2015. "Liberalization of Birth Control and the Unmarried Share of Births. Evidence from Single Mothers in the Marriage Market," Economics Working Papers 2015-25, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    7. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2017. "Family Economics Writ Large," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1346-1434, December.
    8. Mawid Siassi, . "Inequality and the Marriage Gap," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Nezih Guner & Christopher Rauh & Elizabeth Caucutt, 2017. "Is Marriage for White People? Incarceration and the Racial Marriage Divide," 2017 Meeting Papers 779, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Naoki TAKAYAMA, 2017. "Living Arrangements and Family Formation in Japan," ESRI Discussion paper series 340, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    11. Fernández, Raquel & Wong, Joyce Cheng, 2014. "Free to Leave? A Welfare Analysis of Divorce Regimes," CEPR Discussion Papers 10047, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Gobbi, Paula, 2017. "Childcare and Commitment within Households," CEPR Discussion Papers 12550, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2017. "Family Economics Writ Large," Working Papers wp2018_1706, CEMFI.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage; Divorce; Remarriage; College-gender gap; Female labor supply; Divorce law reform;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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