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For Better or for Worse, But How About a Recession?

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  • Jeremy Arkes
  • Yu-Chu Shen

Abstract

In light of the current economic crisis, we estimate hazard models of divorce to determine how state and national unemployment rates affect the likelihood of divorce. With 89,340 observations over the 1978-2006 period for 7633 couples from the 1979 NLSY, we find mixed evidence on whether increases in the unemployment rate lead to overall increases in the likelihood of divorce, which would suggest countercyclical divorce probabilities. However, further analysis reveals that the weak evidence is due to the weak economy increasing the risk of divorce only for couples in years 6 to 10 of marriage. For couples in years 1 to 5 and couples married longer than 10 years, there is no evidence of a pattern between the strength of the economy and divorce probabilities. The estimates are generally stronger in magnitude when using national instead of state unemployment rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy Arkes & Yu-Chu Shen, 2010. "For Better or for Worse, But How About a Recession?," NBER Working Papers 16525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16525
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    Cited by:

    1. Melissa Ruby Banzhaf, 2013. "When It Rains It Pours: Under What Circumstances Does Job Loss Lead to Divorce," Working Papers 13-62, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. repec:pri:crcwel:wp12-04-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Hellerstein Judith K & Morrill Melinda Sandler, 2011. "Booms, Busts, and Divorce," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-28, August.
    4. Hellerstein, Judith K. & Morrill, Melinda Sandler & Zou, Ben, 2013. "Business cycles and divorce: Evidence from microdata," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 68-70.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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