NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Divorce Risk, Wages, and Working Wives: A Quantitative Life-Cycle Analysis of Female Labor Force Participation

Raquel Fernández, Joyce C. Wong

NBER Working Paper No. 19869
Issued in January 2014
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth, Labor Studies, Public Economics, Political Economy

This paper develops a quantitative life-cycle model to study the increase in married women's labor force participation (LFP). We calibrate the model to match key life-cycle statistics for the 1935 cohort and use it to assess the changed environment faced by the 1955 cohort. We find that a higher divorce probability and changes in wage structure are each able to explain a large proportion of the LFP increase. Higher divorce risk increases LFP not because the latter contributes to higher marital assets or greater labor market experience, however. Instead, it is the result of conflicting spousal preferences towards the adjustment of marital consumption in the face of increased divorce risk.

download in pdf format
   (1533 K)

email paper

Supplementary materials for this paper:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19869

Published: Raquel Fernández & Joyce Cheng Wong, 2014. "Divorce Risk, Wages and Working Wives: A Quantitative Life-Cycle Analysis of Female Labour Force Participation," The Economic Journal, vol 124(576), pages 319-358.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Fernández and Wong w20251 Free to Leave? A Welfare Analysis of Divorce Regimes
Fernández and Wong w17508 The Disappearing Gender Gap: The Impact of Divorce, Wages, and Preferences on Education Choices and Women's Work
Stevenson and Wolfers w12944 Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces
Olivetti w19131 The Female Labor Force and Long-run Development: The American Experience in Comparative Perspective
Greenwood, Guner, Kocharkov, and Santos w19829 Marry Your Like: Assortative Mating and Income Inequality
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us