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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the contagiousness of divorce. It begins with an overview of various mechanisms suggesting that the marital status of significant others influences an individual’s decision to divorce. It then presents evidence based on data from a unique Swedish longitudinal database including all employees at approximately 1,500 randomly selected workplaces. The database allows for detailed analyses of how the sex, age, and marital status of a person’s coworkers influence his or her risk of divorce, when one controls for other known risk factors. The results show that interactions with others are crucial when it comes to explaining divorce; the marital status of those with whom individuals interact at work strongly influences their divorce risks. The core finding is that divorce is contagious, but that there are important gender differences in social influence.

Keywords: contagiousness of divorce, marital status, significant others, divorce, divorce risks, gender differences, social influence

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