Where Did it Go Wrong? Marriage and Divorce in Malawi

56 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2016 Last revised: 9 Aug 2018

See all articles by L. Cherchye

L. Cherchye

KU Leuven; Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Bram de Rock

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - Campus Kortrijk (KULAK) - Subfaculty of Economics and Applied Economics

Selma Walther

University of Sussex - Department of Economics

Frederic Vermeulen

KU Leuven

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 1, 2018

Abstract

Do individuals marry and divorce for economic reasons? Can we measure the economic attractiveness of a person's marriage market? We answer these questions using a structural model of consumer-producer households that is applied to rich data from Malawi. Using revealed preference conditions for a stable marriage market, we define the economic attractiveness of a potential match as the difference between the potential value of consumption and leisure with the new partner and the value of consumption and leisure in the current marriage. We estimate this marital instability measure for every pair in geographically defined marriage markets in 2010. We find that the marital instability measure is predictive of future divorces, particularly for women with attractive outside options. We further show that this estimated effect on divorce is mitigated by the woman's age, and by a lack of men, relative to women, in the marriage market, showing that these factors interact with the economic attractiveness of the remarriage market in decisions about divorce. These findings provide out-of-sample validation of our model and the first structural evidence that the value of the marriage market matters for divorce decisions.

Keywords: marriage market, divorce, Malawi, agricultural production, revealed preference

JEL Classification: D11, D12, D13, J12

Suggested Citation

Cherchye, Laurens and de Rock, Bram and Walther, Selma and Vermeulen, Frederic, Where Did it Go Wrong? Marriage and Divorce in Malawi (July 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2759255 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2759255

Laurens Cherchye (Contact Author)

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant
Belgium

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Bram De Rock

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - Campus Kortrijk (KULAK) - Subfaculty of Economics and Applied Economics ( email )

Etienne Sabbelaan 53
Kortrijk, B-8500
Belgium

Selma Walther

University of Sussex - Department of Economics ( email )

Sussex House
Falmer
Brighton, Sussex BNI 9RH
United Kingdom

Frederic Vermeulen

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3000
Belgium

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
64
Abstract Views
697
rank
348,572
PlumX Metrics