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For Better or For Worse? State Level Marital Formation and Risk Sharing

  • Ralph Chami

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Gregory D. Hess

    (Claremont McKenna College and CESifo)

Why do some U.S. states have higher levels of marital formation than others? This paper introduces an economic model wherein a state's representative individual may choose to marry in order to diversify his or her idiosyncratic income risk. The paper demonstrates that such a diversification motive is enhanced for some utility functions when a state's level of undiversifiable risk becomes larger, and when a state's initial income and growth rate is lower. A test of the model's predictions, using cross-sectional data for the 50 U.S. states, suggests that there is broad support for a risk sharing motive for marriage as well as a precautionary attitude towards risk.

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File URL: http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/rdschool/papers/2002-07.pdf
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Paper provided by Claremont Colleges in its series Claremont Colleges Working Papers with number 2002-07.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
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Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2002-07
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  1. Lupton, J. & Smith, J.P., 1999. "Marriage, Assets, and Savings," Papers 99-12, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  2. Mario J Crucini & Gregory D Hess, 1999. "International and Intranational Risk Sharing," CESifo Working Paper Series 227, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Stefano ATHANASOULIS & Eric VAN WINCOOP, 1997. "Growth Uncertainty And Risksharing," Economic Report 41, Iowa State University Department of Economics.
  4. Masao Ogaki & Qiang Zhang, 2000. "Decreasing Relative Risk Aversion and Tests of Risk Sharing," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1588, Econometric Society.
  5. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Avia Spivak, 1979. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," UCLA Economics Working Papers 151, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Gregory D. Hess, 2001. "Marriage and consumption insurance: what's love got to do with it?," Working Paper 0104, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  7. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  9. Miles S. Kimball, 1991. "Standard Risk Aversion," NBER Technical Working Papers 0099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Susan Dynarski & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Can Families Smooth Variable Earnings?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 229-303.
  11. Gregory D. Hess & Kwanho Shin, 1995. "Intranational business cycles in the United States," Research Working Paper 95-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  12. Hess, Gregory D. & Shin, Kwanho, 2000. "Risk sharing by households within and across regions and industries," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 533-560, June.
  13. Del Negro, Marco, 2002. "Asymmetric shocks among U.S. states," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 273-297, March.
  14. Hess, G.D. & Shin, K., 1999. "Risk Sharing of Disaggregate Macroeconomic and Idiosyncratic Shocks," Papers 9915, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  15. Ralph Chami & Gregory Hess, 2005. "For Better or For Worse? State-Level Marital Formation and Risk Sharing," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 367-385, December.
  16. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," NBER Working Papers 7968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Todd E. Clark & Kwanho Shin, 1998. "The sources of fluctuations within and across countries," Research Working Paper 98-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  19. Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-56, October.
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