Divorce: What Does Learning Have to Do with It?
Learning about marriage quality has been proposed as a key mechanism for explaining how the probability of divorce evolves with marriage duration, and why people often cohabit before getting married. I develop four theoretical models of divorce, three of which include learning. I use data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to test reduced form implications of these models. The data is inconsistent with models including a substantial amount of learning. On the other hand, the data is consistent with a model without any learning, but where marriage quality changes over time.
I want to thank Jeff Campbell, Kerwin Charles, Pierre-Andre Chiappori, Analia Schlosser and Rob Shimer for helpful comments on previous versions of this draft. I also want to thank seminar participants at the University of Chicago, CEPR Ammersee 2008, SOLE 2009, NBER Summer Institute 2009, ASSA meetings 2014 for useful comments. I gratefully acknowledge support from the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy, Faculty Development Award. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.