This paper presents an inter-temporal model of individual behavior with uncertainty about marriage and divorce and which accommodates the possible presence of economies or diseconomies of scale from marriage. We show that a scenario of higher marriage rates and higher divorce rates will be associated with higher savings rates in the presence of economies of marriage and with lower savings rates in the presence of diseconomies of marriage. In the context of traditional gender roles, this implies higher saving rates by young men and lower saving rates by young women than in less traditional countries, the opposite being the case with saving rates of married women relative to those of married men. We establish the relevance of traditional gender roles and marital status to understanding cross-country variation in gender differentials in savings behavior.
savings behavior marriage divorce economics of marriage gender roles