Family Theory: Economics of Marriage and Divorce

Yoram Weiss*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This article summarizes the economic approach to marriage and divorce. The economic gains from marriage arise from sharing and coordination. Durable and mutual care help to support efficient outcomes. The gains from marriage and their division influence the decisions to marry and to stay married. Competition in the marriage market determines who will marry whom and the division of the gains. Complementary marital traits lead to a positive assortative matching. Frictions and search explain why, in any given moment in time, part of the population is single and why individuals enter into imperfect unions that dissolve when a better match is found or an unanticipated shock occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - 26 Mar 2015


  • Children
  • Divorce
  • Efficiency
  • Equilibrium
  • Frictions
  • Marriage
  • Matching
  • Power
  • Search
  • Traits
  • Transfers
  • Wages
  • Work


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