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Marriage and consumption insurance: what's love got to do with it?

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  • Gregory D. Hess

Abstract

This paper explores marriage’s role when markets are incomplete and individuals cannot diversify their idiosyncratic labor income risk. All else being equal, an individual would rather marry a “hedge” (a person whose income is negatively correlated with her own) because doing so raises her expected utility. However, the existence of love complicates the picture: Although marrying a hedge is important, an individual may not do so if she finds someone with whom she shares a great deal of love. Is love more important to a lasting marriage than economic compatibility? To answer this question, the author develops a simple model in which rational individuals meet, enjoy marriage’s economic and nonpecuniary benefits (i.e., love), and then must decide whether to remain married or divorce.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory D. Hess, 2001. "Marriage and consumption insurance: what's love got to do with it?," Working Paper 0104, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:0104
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gregory D. Hess, 2004. "Marriage and Consumption Insurance: What's Love Got to Do with It?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 290-318, April.
    2. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-679, June.
    3. Gregory D. Hess & Kwanho Shin, 1999. "Risk sharing of disaggregate macroeconomic and idiosyncratic shocks," Working Paper 9915, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    4. Johansen, Soren & Juselius, Katarina, 1990. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation and Inference on Cointegration--With Applications to the Demand for Money," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(2), pages 169-210, May.
    5. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
    6. Ogaki, Masao & Zhang, Qiang, 2001. "Decreasing Relative Risk Aversion and Tests of Risk Sharing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 515-526, March.
    7. 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 372-391, April.
    8. 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.
    9. Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-956, October.
    10. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
    11. 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.
    12. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1992. "International Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 745-775, August.
    13. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Stark, Oded, 1989. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration, and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 905-926, August.
    14. Hess, Gregory D. & Shin, Kwanho, 1998. "Intranational business cycles in the United States," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 289-313, April.
    15. Hayashi, Fumio & Altonji, Joseph & Kotlikoff, Laurence, 1996. "Risk-Sharing between and within Families," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 261-294, March.
    16. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-976, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumption (Economics);

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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