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With or Without You: Time Use Complementarities and Divorce Rate in the US

  • Domenico Tabasso

    ()

In the last twenty years the divorce rate in the United States has being decreasing, differentiating the US trend from those of most Western countries. In this paper I explore the possibility to study this phenomenon by relating the patterns in the divorce rates to the role played by �time use complementarities� within the household. The changes in time consumption of couples in the last forty years are used as proxies for the changes in consumption habits and are analyzed through the American Time Use Data. The relation between time management and the likelihood of divorce is then studied making use of several datasets from the National Longitudinal Study, covering the period 1967-2004. The results show the emergence of relevant differences in the way American couples shape their time together during the last four decades. Spouses devote more time to joint leisure activities, while togetherness does not relate anymore to household chores and childcare. Furthermore the link between the way partners share household responsibilities and the hazard rate of divorce tends to vanish over time, suggesting a reduction in production complementarities as a deciding factor in the success of marriages.

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Paper provided by University of Essex, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 674.

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Date of creation: 29 Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:674
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  1. Vicky Barham & Rose Anne Devlin, 2004. "A Theory of Rational Marriage and Divorce," Working Papers 0405E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  2. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2009. "Marriage and Divorce since World War II: Analyzing the Role of Technological Progress on the Formation of Households," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 231-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
  4. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2007. "Time to Eat: Household Production under Increasing Income Inequality," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(4), pages 852-863.
  5. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, June.
  6. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Leslie S Stratton, 2008. "Institutions, Social Norms, and Bargaining Power: An Analysis of Individual Leisure Time in Couple Households," Working Papers 0806, VCU School of Business, Department of Economics.
  7. Matthew J. Baker & Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2007. "Marriage, Specialization, and the Gender Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 763-793.
  8. Raquel Fernandez & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2001. "Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 8580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Roger Koenker & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "Quantile Regression," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 143-156, Fall.
  10. Imran Rasul, 2006. "Marriage Markets and Divorce Laws," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 30-69, April.
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