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Marital Risk, Family Insurance, and Public Policy

  • Hans Fehr
  • Manuel Kallweit
  • Fabian Kindermann

The present paper aims to quantify the growth and welfare consequences of changing family structures in western societies. For this reason we develop a dynamic general equilibrium model with both genders which takes into account changes of the marital status as a stochastic process. Individuals respond to these shocks by adjusting savings and labor supply. Our quantitative results indicate that the declining number of marriages coupled with increasing divorce rates had a profound effect on macroeconomic variables and long-run welfare. We find a significant increase in aggregate capital accumulation and a rising labor market participation of women. In addition, our simulations indicate that the change in the marital structure had significant negative welfare consequences for women who lost between 0.4 and 2.2 percent of aggregate resources. The impact on men's welfare, however, could be positive or negative depending on the specific calibration.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.342505.de/diw_sp0226.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 226.

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Length: 24 p.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp226
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  1. Libertad González & Berkay Özcan, 2008. "The risk of divorce and household saving behavior," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 38463, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Spivak, Avia, 1981. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 372-91, April.
  3. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521887878 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2003. "From individual to aggregate labor supply : a quantitative analysis based on a heterogeneous agent macroeconomy," Working Paper 03-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  5. Johnson, William R & Skinner, Jonathan, 1986. "Labor Supply and Marital Separation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 455-69, June.
  6. Betsey Stevenson, 2008. "Divorce Law and Women's Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 14346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Eva M. Sierminska & Joachim R. Frick & Markus M. Grabka, 2008. "Examining the Gender Wealth Gap in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 806, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  8. Hector Chade & Gustavo Ventura, 2002. "Taxes and Marriage: A Two-Sided Search Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(3), pages 955-986, August.
  9. Hans Fehr & Christian Habermann & Fabian Kindermann, 2008. "Social Security with Rational and Hyperbolic Consumers," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 884-903, October.
  10. Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Sagiri Kitao, 2009. "Labor Supply Elasticity and Social Security Reform," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-5, Center for Retirement Research, revised Mar 2009.
  11. Donald Meyer & Jack Meyer, 2005. "Relative Risk Aversion: What Do We Know?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 243-262, December.
  12. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," CEPR Discussion Papers 6144, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. José María Da Rocha & Luisa Fuster, 2006. "Why Are Fertility Rates And Female Employment Ratios Positively Correlated Across O.E.C.D. Countries?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1187-1222, November.
  14. Hong, Jay H. & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 2007. "Social security, life insurance and annuities for families," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 118-140, January.
  15. Konrad, Kai A & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1995. " Family Policy with Non-cooperative Families," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 581-601, December.
  16. Love, David A., 2007. "What can the life-cycle model tell us about 401(k) contributions and participation?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(02), pages 147-185, July.
  17. Barham, Vicky & Devlin, Rose Anne & Yang, Jie, 2009. "A theory of rational marriage and divorce," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 93-106, January.
  18. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  19. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2002. "Why Do Women Wait? Matching, Wage Inequality, and the Incentives for Fertility Delay," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 815-855, October.
  20. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1994. "Noncooperative Bargaining Models of Marriage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 132-37, May.
  21. Andrés Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2002. "Fertility Decisions and Gender Differences in Labor Turnover, Employment, and Wages," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 856-891, October.
  22. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  23. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
  24. Papps, Kerry L., 2006. "The Effects of Divorce Risk on the Labour Supply of Married Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 2395, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Matthias Wrede, 2003. "The Income Splitting Method: Is it Good for Both Marriage Partners?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 203-216, 05.
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