The U.S. Divorce Rate: The 1960s Surge Versus Its Long-Run Determinants
This study investigates the determinants of the U.S. divorce rate from 1929 to 2006, with particular emphasis on explaining its surge in the mid-1960s. The main finding is that the divorce rate and female labor-force participation, or equivalently female participation in higher education, are endogenous variables that are linked by a negative, long-run relationship. The availability of oral contraception shifted this negative relationship to a new, higher level of divorce rates during the late-1960s and early-1970s. The Vietnam War also contributed to the rise in the divorce rate at that time. The results are very robust to different estimation methodologies.
divorce rate; female labor-force participation; female participation in higher education; oral contraceptives; unilateral divorce laws; Vietnam War
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