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Do Divorcing Couples Become Happier By Breaking Up?

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Listed:
  • Gardner, Jonathan

    (Watson Wyatt LLP)

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

Divorce is a leap in the dark. This paper investigates whether people who split up actually become happier. Using the British Household Panel Survey, we are able to observe an individual's level of psychological wellbeing in the years before and after divorce. Our results show that divorcing couples reap psychological gains from the dissolution of their marriages. Men and women benefit equally. The paper also studies the effects of bereavement, of having dependent children, and of remarriage. We measure wellbeing using GHQ and life-satisfaction scores.

Suggested Citation

  • Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2005. "Do Divorcing Couples Become Happier By Breaking Up?," IZA Discussion Papers 1788, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1788
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    divorce; happiness; GHQ; longitudinal data; life satisfaction;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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