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Do Marriage Markets Influence the Divorce Hazard?

  • Raphaela Hyee

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

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    This paper demonstrates that a woman's propensity to separate from her husband or live-in partner depends positively on male wage inequality on her local marriage market - the more heterogeneous potential future mates are in terms of earnings power, the more likely a woman is to end her relationship. This effect is strongest for couples, were one has a college education but the other one does not. Because of the high degree of assortative matching according to education on the marriage market, college educated individuals are those most likely to marry a college graduate - if they are not currently married to one, they have the most to gain from divorcing and going back to the marriage market. This incentive becomes stronger if the college premium (the wage advantage college graduates enjoy over non-graduates) rises. The effect is robust to the inclusion of a variety of controls on the individual level, as well as state and time fixed effects and state specific time trends.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.qmul.ac.uk/papers/doc/wp685.pdf
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    Paper provided by Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 685.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp685
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    1. Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1802-1820, December.
    2. Pierre-André Chiappori & Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2010. "Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Matching on the Marriage Market," Working Papers 2011-012, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 133-156, Fall.
    4. Lundberg, Shelly, 2010. "Personality and Marital Surplus," IZA Discussion Papers 4945, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Gould, Eric D & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2002. "Waiting for Mr Right: Rising Inequality and Declining Marriage Rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 3388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens, 2004. "Job Displacement, Disability, and Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 489-522, April.
    7. Gunter J. Hitsch & Ali Horta�su & Dan Ariely, 2010. "Matching and Sorting in Online Dating," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 130-63, March.
    8. Steven Stern & Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Lillard, 1999. "Cohabitation, Marriage, and Divorce in a Model of Match Quality," Virginia Economics Online Papers 322, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
    9. Raphaela Hyee, 2011. "Education in a Marriage Market Model without Commitment," Working Papers 683, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
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