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

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  • Tabasso, D

Abstract

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 any- more 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Tabasso, D, 2009. "With or Without You: Time Use Complementarities and Divorce Rate in the US," Economics Discussion Papers 8937, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:8937
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    File URL: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/8937/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Raquel Fernández & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2005. "Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(1), pages 273-344.
    2. 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.
    3. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, January.
    4. Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution That Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 1-21, May.
    5. Goldin, Claudia, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution That Transformed Women’s Employment, Education, and Family," Scholarly Articles 2943933, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
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    Keywords

    HB; Marital Market; Leisure; Time Use; Survival Analysis;

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