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Lucky in Life, Unlucky in Love?: The Effect of Random Income Shocks on Marriage and Divorce

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  • Scott Hankins
  • Mark Hoekstra

Abstract

Economists have long been interested in the extent to which economic resources affect decisions to marry and divorce. However, this issue has been difficult to address empirically due to a lack of exogenous income shocks. We overcome this problem by exploiting the randomness of the Florida Lottery and comparing recipients of large prizes to those of small prizes. Results indicate that while positive income shocks of $25,000 to $50,000 do not cause statistically significant or economically meaningful changes in divorce rates, single women are less likely to marry as a result of the additional income.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Hankins & Mark Hoekstra, 2011. "Lucky in Life, Unlucky in Love?: The Effect of Random Income Shocks on Marriage and Divorce," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(2), pages 403-426.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2011:ii:1:p:403-426
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Groneck, Max & Wallenius, Johanna, 2017. "It Sucks to Be Single! Marital Status and Redistribution of Social Security," SSE Working Paper Series in Economics 2017:1, Stockholm School of Economics.
    2. Cherchye, Laurens & De Rock, Bram & Walther, Selma & Vermeulen, Frederic, 2016. "Where Did It Go Wrong? Marriage and Divorce in Malawi," IZA Discussion Papers 9843, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. David Cesarini & Erik Lindqvist & Matthew J. Notowidigdo & Robert Östling, 2017. "The Effect of Wealth on Individual and Household Labor Supply: Evidence from Swedish Lotteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(12), pages 3917-3946, December.
    4. Diederik Boertien & Christian von Scheve & Mona Park, 2012. "Education, Personality and Separation: The Distribution of Relationship Skills across Society," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 487, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    5. Crossley, Thomas F. & Low, Hamish & Smith, Sarah, 2016. "Do consumers gamble to convexify?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 276-291.
    6. Inés Berniell & Dolores de la Mata & Matilde P. Machado, 2013. "The impact of a permanent Income shock on the situation of women in the household: the case of a pension reform in Argentina," Documentos de Trabajo 011037, Universidad del Rosario.
    7. Bradley Hardy, 2014. "Childhood Income Volatility and Adult Outcomes," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(5), pages 1641-1665, October.
    8. Hellerstein Judith K & Morrill Melinda Sandler, 2011. "Booms, Busts, and Divorce," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-28, August.

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