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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 Waltheror
  • Frederic Vermeulenor

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 Waltheror & Frederic Vermeulenor, 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

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    Cited by:

    1. Xia, Fang, 2021. "Investment Impacts of Gendered Land Rights in Customary Tenure Systems: Substantive and Methodological Insights from Malawi," 2021 Conference, August 17-31, 2021, Virtual 315327, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Shyamal Chowdhury & Debdulal Mallick & Prabal Roy Chowdhury, 2017. "Natural Shock and Marriage Markets: Evolution of Mehr and Dowry in Muslim Marriages," Discussion Papers 17-02, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi.
    3. Mikhail Freer & Khushboo Surana, 2021. "Stable marriage in the eyes of the law," Papers 2110.10781, arXiv.org.
    4. Chowdhury, Shyamal & Mallick, Debdulal & Roy Chowdhury, Prabal, 2020. "Natural shocks and marriage markets: Fluctuations in mehr and dowry in Muslim marriages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    5. Deininger, Klaus & Xia, Fang & Kilic, Talip & Moylan, Heather, 2021. "Investment impacts of gendered land rights in customary tenure systems: Substantive and methodological insights from Malawi," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 147(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage Market; Divorce; Malawi; Agricultural Production; Revealed Preference;
    All these keywords.

    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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