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Where Did It Go Wrong? Marriage and Divorce In Malawi

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  • Laurens Cherchye
  • Bram De Rock
  • Selma Telalagic Walther
  • Frederic Vermeulen

Abstract

Abstract: Do individuals divorce for economic reasons? Can we measure the attractiveness of new matches in the marriage market? We answer these questions using a structural model of the household and a rich panel dataset from Malawi. We propose a model of the household with consumption, production and revealed preference conditions for stability on the marriage market. We define marital instability in terms of the consumption gains to remarrying another individual in the same marriage market, and to being single. We find that a 1 percentage point increase in the wife’s estimated consumption gains from remarriage is significantly associated with a 0.6 percentage point increase in divorce probability in the next three years. In a multinomial model, higher values of consumption gains from remarriage raise the odds of divorce and remarriage but not of divorce and singleness. These findings provide out-of-sample validation of the structural model and shed new light on the economic determinants of divorce.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock & Selma Telalagic Walther & Frederic Vermeulen, 2016. "Where Did It Go Wrong? Marriage and Divorce In Malawi," Economics Series Working Papers 786, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:786
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage Market; Divorce; Malawi; Agricultural Production; Revealed Preference;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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