Over recent decades, we have witnessed drastic changes in American family structure. Previous studies, such as those performed by Gary Becker (1991) and Manser and Brown (1980) have applied economic models to divorce and other family structure decisions. Building on the utility maximization analysis of Manser and Brown, as adapted by John Ermisch (1993), this study uses a logit regression analysis to predict divorce decisions for an all female sample of respondents, ages 28 to 36. Data are extracted from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth for this analysis. Economic theory predicts that the probability of divorce is directly related to one's opportunity cost to being married. Using a woman's estimated wage rate as a proxy for the economic portion of this opportunity cost, this study hypothesizes that the probability of a woman seeking divorce will increase with increases in her potential wage rate, holding total family income constant. The empirical results of the study support this hypothesis.



Included in

Economics Commons