PSC Working Paper Series

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Greenwood, Jeremy and Nezih Guner. 2008. "Marriage and Divorce since World War II: Analyzing the Role of Technological Progress on the Formation of Households." PSC Working Paper Series PSC 08-01.


Since World War II there has been: (i) a rise in the fraction of time that married households allocate to market work, (ii) an increase in the rate of divorce, and (iii) a decline in the rate of marriage. It is argued here that labor-saving technological progress in the household sector can explain these facts. This makes it more feasible for singles to maintain their own home, and for married women to work. To address this question, a search model of marriage and divorce, which incorporates household production, is developed. An extension looks back at the prewar era.


Marriage, Divorce, Cohabitation, Divorce rates, Marriage rates, Marital dissolution, Marital formation, Marital partners, Vital statistics, Married households, Single households, Single life, Married life, Marriage markets, Household size, Household structure, Living arrangements, Young adults, Leaving home, Decision to leave home, Technological progress, Technological innovation, Wages, Real wages, Household consumption, Market goods, Nonmarket goods, Household production, Household maintenance, Hours worked, Labor supply, Female labor force participation, Time use, Household allocations, Household decision making



Date Posted: 23 May 2008