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Working paper
Economía Política
Rafael González-Val, Miriam Marcén

2015/38: Regional unemployment, marriage, and divorce

In this paper, we examine whether the business cycle plays a role in marriage and divorce. We use data on Spain, since the differences between recession and expansion periods across regions are quite pronounced in that country. We find that the unemployment rate is negatively associated with the marriage rate, pointing to a pro-cyclical evolution of marriage; however the response of the divorce rate to the business cycle is mixed. Results show the existence of different patterns, depending on geography: divorce rates in coastal regions are pro- cyclical, while in inland regions divorces react to unemployment in a counter-cyclical way. Other factors, such as changes in divorce law and duration of the marriage also have a significant effect on divorce rates.

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