Ways and means
Divorce rates rise with prosperity. A new spouse can almost be seen as a consumer good available for purchase as individual freedom of choice increases with individual disposable incomes. But with choice comes stress and strain, both for the individuals and the institutions of the society in which they live. Ironically the prosperity that enables family ties to weaken and individual aspirations to be pursued is followed by widespread poverty after divorce for women and children. The deprivation and disadvantage experienced by female-headed households after divorce has now been documented world-wide (Maclean and Weitzman, forthcoming).
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