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Economics of marriage and divorce


  • Steven Stern


  • Leora Friedberg



In order to understand these ideas, we have to develop a model of both marriage and divorce (or, in other words, a model that allows for changes over time in the utility from marriage). In this chapter, we will set the stage for this analysis by discussing trends in marriage and divorce in Section 1. The major changes in matrimonial patterns in North America and Europe that we will highlight serve as a backdrop for the analysis we will introduce in the rest of the chapter. Then, to keep things simple, we will discuss separately the gains from marriage versus living together (Section 2), the reasons why people marry (Section 3), the nature of decision-making within marriage (Section 4), and the nature of the decisions to marry and to divorce (Section 5).

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Stern & Leora Friedberg, 2005. "Economics of marriage and divorce," Virginia Economics Online Papers 399, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:vir:virpap:399

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Lillard & Steven Stern, 2006. "Cohabitation, Marriage, And Divorce In A Model Of Match Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 451-494, May.
    2. Browning, Martin & Francois Bourguignon & Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Valerie Lechene, 1994. "Income and Outcomes: A Structural Model of Intrahousehold Allocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1067-1096, December.
    3. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1985. "Children as Collective Goods and Divorce Settlements," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 268-292, July.
    5. Allen, Douglas W., 1998. "No-fault divorce in Canada: Its cause and effect," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 129-149, October.
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    More about this item


    marriage; divorce;

    JEL classification:

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


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