NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Economics of Marital Instability

Gary S. Becker, Elisabeth M. Landes, Robert T. Michael

NBER Working Paper No. 153
Issued in October 1976

This paper focuses on the causes of divorce. Section I developsa theoretical analysis of marital dissolution incorporating uncertaintyabout the outcomes of marital decisions into a framework of utilitymaximization and the marriage market. Section II explores the implica-tions of the theoretical analysis with cross-sectional data,primarilythe 1967 Survey of Economic Opportunity and the Terman sample. Therelevance of both the theoretical and empirical analyses in explainingthe recent acceleration in the U.S. divorce rate is discussed.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0153

Published: Becker, Gary S., Elisabeth M. Landes, and Robert T. Michael. " An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability." Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 85, No . 6, (December 1977), pp. 1141-1187.

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