Original Paper

Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 1007-1033

First online:

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

  • Jessamyn SchallerAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University of California Email author 

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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.


Marriage Marital dissolution

JEL Classification