EconStor >
Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA), Bonn >
IZA Discussion Papers, Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA) >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:

http://hdl.handle.net/10419/36160
  

Full metadata record

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorGuven, Cahiten_US
dc.contributor.authorSenik, Claudiaen_US
dc.contributor.authorStichnoth, Holgeren_US
dc.date.accessioned2010-01-27en_US
dc.date.accessioned2010-07-07T12:06:29Z-
dc.date.available2010-07-07T12:06:29Z-
dc.date.issued2009en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10419/36160-
dc.description.abstractThis paper asks whether the gap in subjective happiness between spouses matters per se, i.e. whether it predicts divorce. We use three panel databases to explore this question. Controlling for the level of life satisfaction of spouses, we find that a higher satisfaction gap, even in the first year of marriage, increases the likelihood of a future separation. We interpret this as the effect of comparisons of well-being between spouses, i.e. aversion to unequal sharing of well-being inside couples. To our knowledge, this effect has never been taken into account by existing economic models of the household. The relation between happiness gaps and divorce may be due to the fact that couples which are unable to transfer utility are more at risk than others. It may also be the case that assortative mating in terms of happiness baseline-level reduces the risk of separation. However, we show that assortative mating is not the end of the story. First, our results hold in fixed-effects estimates that take away the effect of the initial quality of the match between spouses: fixed-effects estimates suggest that a widening of the happiness gap over time raises the risk of separation. Second, we uncover an asymmetry in the effect of happiness gaps: couples are more likely to break-up when the difference in life satisfaction is unfavourable to the wife. The information available in the Australian survey reveals that divorces are indeed predominantly initiated by women, and importantly, by women who are unhappier than their husband. Hence, happiness gaps seem to matter to spouses, not only because they reflect a mismatch in terms of baseline happiness, but because they matter as such.en_US
dc.language.isoengen_US
dc.publisherIZA Bonnen_US
dc.relation.ispartofseriesIZA Discussion Papers 4599en_US
dc.subject.jelJ12en_US
dc.subject.jelD13en_US
dc.subject.jelD63en_US
dc.subject.jelD64en_US
dc.subject.jelH31en_US
dc.subject.jelI31en_US
dc.subject.jelZ13en_US
dc.subject.ddc330en_US
dc.subject.keywordDivorceen_US
dc.subject.keywordhappinessen_US
dc.subject.keywordcomparisonsen_US
dc.subject.keywordpanelen_US
dc.subject.keywordhouseholdsen_US
dc.subject.keywordmarriageen_US
dc.subject.stwScheidungen_US
dc.subject.stwEheen_US
dc.subject.stwLebenszufriedenheiten_US
dc.subject.stwMänneren_US
dc.subject.stwFrauenen_US
dc.subject.stwSchätzungen_US
dc.subject.stwAustralienen_US
dc.titleYou can't be happier than your wife: happiness gaps and divorceen_US
dc.typeWorking Paperen_US
dc.identifier.ppn617271798en_US
dc.rightshttp://www.econstor.eu/dspace/Nutzungsbedingungen-
Appears in Collections:IZA Discussion Papers, Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA)

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat
617271798.pdf940.14 kBAdobe PDF
No. of Downloads: Counter Stats
Show simple item record
Download bibliographical data as: BibTeX

Items in EconStor are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.