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Author: Compton, Janice Rhoda Yates
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1. Compton, Janice Rhoda Yates
A Time and Place for Us: Essays on Migration, Time Preferences and Marriage Stability
Ph.D. Dissertation, Washington University, 2005. DAI-A 66/07, p. 2652, Jan 2006
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT)
Keyword(s): Divorce; Educational Attainment; Husbands, Attitudes; Marital Stability; Migration Patterns; Modeling, Hazard/Event History/Survival/Duration; Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID); Wives, Attitudes

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Although much of economic theory is based on individual decision making, many major economic outcomes such as marriage, divorce and family location are the result of joint decisions between a husband and wife. In my dissertation I use theoretical and empirical methods to explore how joint and individual characteristics affect couples' decisions. The first essay considers couples' choice of location. Increasingly, both husbands and wives have specialized careers and therefore may be more likely to disagree over where to reside. Previous research has suggested that large MSAs may help solve these disagreements and for this reason, large cities are especially attractive to college educated couples. However, regression analyses using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) suggest that the joint education profile of husband and wife does not affect migration behavior--it is only the education of the husband that matters. The concentration of power couples is better explained by differences in education attainment, assortative mating and divorce patterns by city size. In the second and third chapters I consider the effect of time preference on marriage and divorce, arguing that since marriage is an investment decision, the rate at which one discounts the future is an important predictor of marital stability. In the second chapter, I develop a game theoretic model of divorce with heterogeneous time preferences and temporary shocks. The model predicts that impatient individuals are more likely to divorce and have shorter marriages than patient individuals. Regression results using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) are consistent with this finding. In the third chapter, I consider the incentives for, and effects of, assortative mating on time preferences. In contrast to other models of preference-based assortative mating in which "like" couples are less likely to divorce than "mixed" couples, I show that only those "like" couples who are patient enjoy lower divorce probabilities. Positive assortative mating may increase the probability of divorce for impatient individuals. Results from hazard regressions on PSID data are consistent with this hypothesis.
Bibliography Citation
Compton, Janice Rhoda Yates. A Time and Place for Us: Essays on Migration, Time Preferences and Marriage Stability. Ph.D. Dissertation, Washington University, 2005. DAI-A 66/07, p. 2652, Jan 2006.