Marriage and Divorce since World War II: Analyzing the Role of Technological Progress on the Formation of Households

Jeremy Greenwood, University of Rochester
Nezih Guner, Pennsylvania State University

Since World War II there have been: (i) a rise in the fraction of time that married households allocate to market work, (ii) an increase in the rate of divorce, and (iii) a decline in the rate of marriage. What can explain this? It is argued here that technological progress in the household sector has saved on the need for labor at home. This makes it more feasible for singles to maintain their own home, and for married women to work. To address this question, a search model of marriage and divorce is developed. Household production benefits from labor-saving technological progress.

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Presented in Session 159: Social Change and Union Formation: Cross-National Perspectives