For richer, if not for poorer? Marriage and divorce over the business cycle

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46 Scopus citations


Despite anecdotal evidence that recessions affect marriage and divorce rates, researchers do not agree about the direction and magnitude of the relationship. This paper reexamines the effect of business cycles on flows into and out of marriage, finding that increased unemployment rates are associated with reductions in both outcomes. The results are robust to the use of alternative measures of economic conditions, hold for both blacks and whites, and are concentrated among working-age individuals. Lag specifications and impulse response functions suggest that the effect of an unemployment shock on marriage is permanent, while the effect on divorce is temporary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1033
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Population Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Marital dissolution
  • Marriage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Economics and Econometrics

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