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You can't be happier than your wife. Happiness gaps and divorce

Listed author(s):
  • Cahit Guven

    (Deakin University - Deakin University)

  • Claudia Senik

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics, UP4 - Université Paris-Sorbonne)

  • Holger Stichnoth

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung - ZEW)

Based on three large panel surveys, this paper shows that happiness gaps between spouses are a good predictor of future divorce. The effect of happiness gaps is asymmetric: couples are more likely to break-up when the woman is the less happy partner. De facto, divorces appear to be initiated predominantly by women who are less happy than their husband. This asymmetry suggests that the effect of happiness gaps is grounded on motives of relative deprivation (i.e. comparisons of happiness between spouses) rather than on a preference for equal happiness.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" with number halshs-00754595.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Elsevier, 2012, 82 (1), pp.110-130. <10.1016/j.jebo.2012.01.003>
Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-00754595
DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2012.01.003
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-pjse.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00754595
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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