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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys some of the main strands in the recent US literature on the economics of divorce. We discuss changes over time in the divorce rate, the widening gap in marital instability by socioeconomic status, and the increase in “gray divorce.” We review the role of age at entry into first marriage and how it differs by race/ethnicity. Compared to other developed economies, the divorce rate in the United States is exceptionally high. We offer possible explanations including the roles of theologically conservative religions and the high levels of both income inequality and teen fertility in the United States We review the effects of divorce reforms and the role of barriers to economic self-sufficiency. Finally, we discuss the effects of divorce on children’s well-being and the role of child support policies.

Keywords: divorce, marital instability, marriage dissolution, family structure, family instability, separation, child well-being

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