DP140 | Economics of the Family: Applications to Divorce and Remarriage


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The economic theory of marriage developed by Gary Becker is used to guide the estimation and interpretation of socioeconomic influences on the probabilities of marital dissolution at particular durations of marriage and the probability of remarriage within three years of dissolution. The analysis is based on the demographic and work histories in the 1980 Women and Employment Survey. The evidence presented here suggests that the likelihood of marital breakdown varies with the age at marriage and the timing of childbearing: this is consistent with previous research. This study is, however, the first in Britain to investigate the impact of women's work experience on the probabilities of marital dissolution and subsequent remarriage. Work experience is an important influence on women's earning capacity: the analysis indicates that in general, more work experience tends to increase the risk of marital dissolution, but it is also associated with quicker remarriage. The implications of the analysis for the economic circumstances of one-parent families are also discussed.