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A Re-Evaluation of the Economic Consequences of Divorce

Richard R. Peterson
American Sociological Review
Vol. 61, No. 3 (Jun., 1996), pp. 528-536
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096363
Page Count: 9
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A Re-Evaluation of the Economic Consequences of Divorce
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Abstract

Over the last 20 years, researchers have focused considerable attention on the economic consequences of divorce. One book, Weitzman's The Divorce Revolution (1985), reports a 73 percent decline in women's standard of living after divorce and a 42 percent increase in men's standard of living. These percentages, based on data from a 1977-1978 Los Angeles sample, are substantially larger than those from other studies. I replicate The Divorce Revolution's analysis and demonstrate that the estimates reported in the book are inaccurate. This reanalysis, which uses the same sample and measures of economic well-being as The Divorce Revolution, produces estimates of a 27 percent decline in women's standard of living and a 10 percent increase in men's standard of living after divorce. I discuss the implications of these results for debates about divorce law reform.

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