Macroeconomic Conditions and Marital Dissolution

Judith Hellerstein, University of Maryland
Melinda Sandler Morrill, North Carolina State University

There has been widespread interest in the consequences of this latest economic recession in the United States on marital stability. In fact, researchers going at least as far back as the 1920s have speculated that divorce rates might decline in times of economic recession. Given this long history, there is surprisingly little formal empirical evidence on whether such a link exists, let alone its magnitude if it does. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), we conduct a detailed empirical examination of the impact of macroeconomic conditions on marital dissolution, comparing and contrasting it with the impact of family-specific shocks on marital dissolution and considering interactions of the two.

  See paper

Presented in Session 114: Consequences of Economic Downturns