Title

The economics of the family from a dynamic perspective

Date of Award

1998

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economics

Keywords

Economics, Family, Neighborhood quality, Homeowners, Labor supply, Divorce

Subject Categories

Economics

Abstract

My dissertation considers, within a dynamic framework, how actual or predicted changes in individuals' family circumstances influence their behavior and economic well-being. First, I examine the impact that changes in neighborhood quality have on the probability of moving after 1970 for younger and older homeowners in the United States. I use multiperiod data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) linked to neighborhood level variables from Census data and find that a decrease in neighborhood quality increases the probability of moving for younger homeowners, but has no significant impact on the probability of moving for older homeowners.

Second, I compare and contrast the short-term and long-term economic consequences of marital separation on men and women in the United States and Germany. For these analyses I use both the PSID and the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). The findings suggest that women in both the United States and Germany sustain large declines in their household-size adjusted income after divorce, while men in these countries experience only small declines or even increases in their household-size adjusted income. However, group averages mask the great diversity in economic well-being changes after divorce. The short- and long-term economic consequences of divorce vary by education, employment, number of children, income level, remarriage, and cohabitation for both men and women.

Third, I consider the extent to which married women in the United States and Germany anticipate divorce and increase their labor supply in response. I use longitudinal data from the PSID and the GSOEP and find, as do other researchers, that the probability of divorce had a significant and positive impact on labor supply decisions for U.S. married women in the 1970s. However, I find this is no longer the case for U.S. married women in the 1980s. I do find that the probability of divorce positively and significantly influences labor force participation decisions for German married women in the 1980s; however, the results suggest that it does not influence hours decisions.

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