Wednesday, August 12, 2009

why are divorce rates higher in urban areas?

The divorce rate is higher in urban areas than in rural areas. Why is this? It could be that the abundance of potential partners in urban areas cause people to "trade up" more often, or to cheat on their spouses more often. Or maybe, people in rural areas are more likely to think of divorce as a non-option.

In a new paper, appearing in the Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Pieter Gautier (Vrije Universiteit), Michael Svarer (Aarhus University), and Coen Teulings (Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis) propose another possibility. Maybe couples who are more content with their relationships are more likely to move out of the city, while those who are less content are more likely to stay in the city. This makes a lot of sense. People often leave the city to focus more on family life, something you are more likely to do when you are happy with your spouse. The research shows that once your control for this sorting effect, there is no distinguishable difference in divorce rate.

Link to the paper here.

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