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An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability

Gary S. Becker, Elisabeth M. Landes and Robert T. Michael
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 85, No. 6 (Dec., 1977), pp. 1141-1187
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1837421
Page Count: 47
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An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability
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Abstract

This paper focuses on the causes of marital instability. Section I develops a theoretical analysis of marital dissolution, incorporating uncertainty about outcomes of marital decisions into a framework of utility maximization and the marriage market. Section II explores implications of the theoretical analysis with cross-sectional data, primarily the 1967 Survey of Economic Opportunity and the Terman sample. The relevance of both the theoretical and empirical analyses in explaining the recent acceleration in divorce rates is also discussed.

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