Economics of Marital Instability
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.
This study has been partially supported by grants to NBER from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, DHEW:The Rockefeller Foundation; and by NBER. The authors wish to thank Michael Grossman, Michael Keeley, participants of workshops at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, NBER-West, and University of Rochester for comments, and Barbara Andrews, Kyle Johnson, and Richard Wong for valuable research assistance.
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.