Household Finances, Income Shocks, and Family Separation in Britain

21 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2015

See all articles by Sarah Bridges

Sarah Bridges

University of Nottingham

Richard F. Disney

University of Nottingham; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Axia Economics

Date Written: January 2016


We examine the effect of household financial indebtedness on the incidence of partnership dissolution using a large survey of families with children in Britain. We use detailed data on household finances to provide a robust statistical analysis of the relationship between indebtedness and partnership dissolution and to avoid the potential simultaneity of financial and psychological health responses that arise when using self‐reported data on the extent of household “financial problems.” We examine whether the data provide any support for the “economic” models of divorce and separation developed by Gary Becker and his colleagues.

JEL Classification: J12, D12

Suggested Citation

Bridges, Sarah and Disney, Richard F., Household Finances, Income Shocks, and Family Separation in Britain (January 2016). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 54, Issue 1, pp. 698-718, 2016. Available at SSRN: or

Sarah Bridges (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Richard F. Disney

University of Nottingham ( email )

School of Economics
Nottingham NG7 2RD
United Kingdom
+44 115 951 5620 (Phone)
+44 115 951 4159 (Fax)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Axia Economics ( email )

38 Concanon Road
London SW2 5TA
United Kingdom

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