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Job Displacement, Disability, and Divorce

Author

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  • Kerwin Kofi Charles

    (University of Michigan and National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Melvin Stephens

    (Carnegie Mellon University and National Bureau of Economic Research)

Abstract

Earnings shocks should affect divorce probability by changing a couple's expected gains from marriage. We find that the divorce hazard rises after a spouse's job displacement but does not change after a spousal disability. This difference casts doubt on a purely pecuniary motivation for divorce following earnings shocks, since both types of shocks exhibit similar long-run economic consequences. Furthermore, the increase in divorce is found only for layoffs and not for plant closings, suggesting that information conveyed about a partner's noneconomic suitability as a mate due to a job loss may be more important than financial losses in precipitating divorce.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:22:y:2004:i:2:p:489-522
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    References listed on IDEAS

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