Fenton’s hypothesis.

Commenter Fenton raised an interesting point in response to my post :

A hypothesis: men who lose their jobs (and sink to little or no income) are then often divorced, to free up the woman to find someone with more resources. The two statuses are linked not by motivation to work harder, but by female filtering: men with earnings are acceptable to marry, men without earnings are then divorced. I have no data with which to test this, unfortunately.

This question may not be of interest to many of my readers, but I wanted to dig into the data and see how much of this possible effect I could rule in or out.  There are two ways this could be causing the group of married men to have a smaller percentage of zero earnings than the group of unmarried men:

  1. Instantaneous:  In any given year a (mostly) random group of married men find themselves without earnings, and during that same basic time period their wife divorces them, moving them from the married to the unmarried category.  Assuming a higher percentage of the men going through a divorce in any given year have zero earnings than the population of married men, that year’s divorces will cause the married category to look better and the unmarried category to look worse than they otherwise would.
  2. Cumulative:  Over time wives are divorcing the least motivated men, and since these men are unmotivated they are remaining unmarried.  This would cause the concentration of non earners to build up in the divorced category (especially in older age brackets), and the high concentration of non earning divorced men would increase the percentage of unmarried men with zero earnings.

How big is the instantaneous (same year) impact of divorce on the percentage of married vs unmarried men with zero earnings?

The instantaneous impact will be largest in the age bracket with the highest divorce rates, so divorce rates by age is the first piece of data we need.  While I don’t have divorce rate data on White men in 2012, the Census put out a report for 2009 with a breakdown of the number of men (all races) who went through a divorce that year by age bracket.  I combined this data with the number of married men in the same year to create the following table:

2009_men_divorce_by_age

These figures are for all races in 2009, but they at least give an estimate I can plug back into my calculations for Whites in 2012.  As you can see, only a small percentage of married men are experiencing divorce in any given year, but there is significant variance by age.  Since very few 15-24 year old men are married, I’ll focus on the 25-34 year age bracket as it has the next highest divorce rate.

The next piece of data we need is the percentage of men going through a divorce in 2009 who had zero earnings.  The same US Census paper includes this information as well, although unfortunately it doesn’t break it down by age:

divorced_labor_force_640

Adding the percentage of men divorcing in 2009 who were on unemployment (9.5%) to the percent not in the labor force (17.2%) gives us a total of 26.7% with no earnings.  This number almost certainly overstates the percent of White men age 25-34 divorcing with no earnings because:

  • It includes men who are at or nearing retirement age, both of which have higher percentages of zero earnings than 25-34 year old men do.
  • Zero earnings rates are lower for White men than men of all races.

From here we can estimate:

A)  The number of 25-34 year old White men who went through a divorce in 2012.  We get this by multiplying the number of married men in that demographic by the percent of 25-34 year old married men (all races) who went through a divorce in 2009 (2.9%).
B)  How many of those divorces involved men with zero earnings (26.7% of the answer from “A”).

Once we have these two estimates, we can add the estimated number of men who went through a divorce in 2012 back into the White married category and subtract them from the unmarried group.  This allows us to quantify the (estimated) impact of that years divorces on the results.  Here is what the revised calculations look like for married men:

estimated_married_2012

We do the same thing with the 2012 White unmarried category, but in this case we need to subtract the estimated divorces:

estimated_unmarried_2012

This tells us what the figures would have been had no divorces occurred in 2012 (again assuming the estimates are accurate).  The married category would have had 7.2% of men with zero earnings (an extra .56%). The unmarried category would have had 15% of men with zero earnings (a difference of .28%).

Since the original total difference between married and unmarried White men was 8% for the 25-29 bracket and 8.5% for the 30-34 bracket the estimated combined instantaneous effect of (at most) .84% (.56% + .28%) would only account for a small part of the difference we are seeing.  Since the later age brackets have lower divorce rates, the instantaneous impact would be even smaller for older men.

What about a possible cumulative impact of divorce?

The best way to measure this is by breaking down the unmarried category to its different sub groups (divorced, widowed, never married, etc) and calculate zero earnings percentages for each sub group.  Fortunately this data is available by age bracket for White men in 2012.  Since the biggest difference between married and unmarried men was in the 45-54 year old age bracket (and the cumulative effect would be greatest for the older age categories) I calculated the percent of each sub group of unmarried White men age 45-54 in 2012:

white_unmarried45_54_zero_breakdown

As I did with the charts in the original post, I’ve included “Separated” in the unmarried category because for Whites separation fairly quickly leads to divorce.  See fig 32 of this study for more details.  Interestingly the percent of divorced men with zero earnings was identical to the same figure for separated men.

Note also that divorced and separated men have the lowest percentage of men with zero earnings for the entire unmarried category.  Divorced men are actually pulling the average down.  This rules out a cumulative impact of divorce as increasing the percentage unmarried men with zero earnings.  The other possible cumulative impact would be on married men.  However, this is less clear cut because while it is clear that there is some selection going on regarding the men experiencing divorce in any given year, the new marital status also means less incentive to earn.

What is especially surprising is the high percentage of widowed men with zero earnings.  At first glance it would seem that there shouldn’t be a correlation between a man’s earnings and his wife’s probability of passing away.  However, since this is a 10 year age bracket what we might be seeing is older men being more likely to both have 0 earnings (either due to retirement or disability) and to have lost their wife.  However, when I broke it out for just 45-49 year old white men the result for widowed men was nearly identical.  It might also be that there is a correlation with lifestyle choices of the married couple that we are seeing, such as drug or alcohol abuse leading to higher than average levels of both early death and unemployment/disability.  But it is also possible (I would argue likely) that this difference represents the formerly married man’s reduced incentive to work now that he no longer has a wife.  My guess is both are in play here, but I won’t speculate on the relative weight of the two factors.

Conclusion

Some of the differences we see between married and unmarried men does seem to be explained by wives divorcing non earning men as Fenton hypothesized, but this impact is small compared to the overall difference observed and has the biggest impact on the younger age brackets where divorce rates are highest.  The biggest difference we find in zero earnings rates between married and unmarried men is in the older age brackets, and for these brackets the cumulative impact of divorce is actually reducing the observed difference.  All of this confirms that marriage does appear to motivate men to earn more than they would otherwise earn, and that sorting due to divorce isn’t what is driving the differences we see.  The lower earnings rates for widowed men appears to further corroborate this, but it is possible that part of what we are observing for widowed men could be explained by joint lifestyle choices or some other factor.

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72 Responses to Fenton’s hypothesis.

  1. Bob Wallace says:

    Judging by the way most women look past a certain age, the idea they are going to divorce their unemployed husbands and find someone better is pure nonsense. i get divorced women/single mothers hitting on me all the time – stores, streets, wherever. And they stand no chance at all. They even ignore the fact they’ve seen me with the same women all the time.

  2. funny says:

    It took three years for the equity I had built up for my entire life to be wiped out for her business fantasies. At that point I became unattractive and was dropped soon thereafter.

  3. BC says:

    This is one of the reasons I love this blog.

    The pattern I have seen re: (lack of) earnings and divorce is that while there is definitely some positive correlation between a man’s fortunes and staying married vs. getting divorced, the divorce usually does not happen immediately when the man’s fortunes fall, and there is instead a time lag of up to several years or more while the couple struggles, until such point arrives when the wife gives up and casts away. So while a no/low-earnings man is much more likely to eventually be divorced, there tends to be a number of years in the “married but no/low-earnings” category first.

  4. lagunabeachfogey says:

    C’mon, guys, there’s really not that much to it. Pump ‘n dump the bitches. Have fun. Life is awesome!

  5. Johnycomelately says:

    Wow, that was painful (good pain).

    Isn’t it telling though that men who experience divorce in a given year have four times the rate of zero earnings?

  6. feeriker says:

    @Bob Wallace: Yes, the idea that the average middle-aged, well-shopworn woman who divorces her husband will find someone better to latch onto is indeed beyond far-fetched, but that doesn’t stop the hamster from running itself into a stroke. As you pointed out, hypergamous fantasizing leads a huge number of them to discover, too late, that not only is the proverbial grass not greener on the other side of the fence, but that the terrain on the other side is usually either an abandoned cracked asphalt parking lot or a desert.

    BC said: The pattern I have seen re: (lack of) earnings and divorce is that while there is definitely some positive correlation between a man’s fortunes and staying married vs. getting divorced, the divorce usually does not happen immediately when the man’s fortunes fall, and there is instead a time lag of up to several years or more while the couple struggles, until such point arrives when the wife gives up and casts away.

    This is all but an inevitability in marriages of upper middle class middle-aged couples where the wife has been a parasitic SAHW for most of (if not the entirety of) the marriage, has grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle, and then, after hubby finds himself unemployed, she finds herself in the position of having to “economize” or, GOD FORBID, having to go out and get a job herself. At this point she “can’t take it any more” and walks out, even though, as Bob Wallace points out in the first post of the thread, she stands NO chance of either finding another beta sucker with better prospects than her hubby to scoop her up and take care of her, or of getting a job that will sustain her in the lifestyle to which she’s become accustomed.

    This scenario happened to a very close family friend, a 56-year-old corporate accountant who got axed from a major Silicon Valley tech firm four years ago in the immediate aftermath of the last economic meltdown. He hasn’t been able to land a steady gig since then and his wife walked out on him two years ago. But get this: the bitch actually emailed me, out of the blue, three months ago, apparently under the delusion that I would be a shoulder to cry on. She actually had the gall to say, in the midst of a long, rambling verbal purging about how she’s been miserable (you think there’s a reason for that, sweetheart?), that “as soon as he gets a REAL job, I’m gonna go after him for everything he owes me!”

    I really hope my friend hops a steamer to South Antarctica and never looks back He needs to get as far away from this bitch and her millions of American clones as possible.

  7. BC says:

    @feeriker: Yes, that is indeed the psychology. However, most of the cases I saw were not upper middle class middle-aged couples, but rather lower- to middle-middle class couples in their early 30s to 40s. Anyway, good luck to your friend, and yes, getting his passport and getting overseas is not a bad option in that case.

    Note also that divorced and separated men have the lowest percentage of men with zero earnings for the entire unmarried category. Divorced men are actually pulling the average down.

    Funny how the threat of imprisonment for non-payment of child support and/or alimony can motivate a man to get a job – any job. This is the kind of thing that leads Women/The State to believe that carrots are obsolete, or optional at best, and that all is really needed is a good supply of whips.

  8. mongolking says:

    “Judging by the way most women look past a certain age, the idea they are going to divorce their unemployed husbands and find someone better is pure nonsense.”

    There wouldn’t be a single life form anywhere that behaves the way it does because it has no chance at all. It is all a question of odds. Your average street pan-handler will be able to tell you fairly accurately how often a certain ploy works, to the nearest success rate per 100 (and why not? what else are they doing?)

    Even sparrows know how to work the odds. You’ll know something is pure nonsense not when it ceases to make sense to you, but when you cannot find someone, or something, trying it on.

  9. Ton says:

    In 1860, yankees decided centralized power and a redistributive tax code was the most important thing possible, with the railroads and nothren industrials interests to reap the rewards of the Morril tariff. Since they won war against centralized power by using a giant stick full o forgein born mercenaries, they decided the carrot no longer mattered. Ever since, the stick has gotten larger, the carrot has gotten smaller. The stick will only continue to get larger as neither party gives a damn about the worth of individual men, and as more third worlders show up to reap the benefits of a tax spoils based voter reward system

    Enjoy what your forefathers wrought with war on kinfolk, immigration as a hostile act toward native born White men and progressive politics to codified power in DC and big business.

  10. @Dalrock

    Isnt divorce supposed to be at 60-70%? How come the divorce rates at 3% per year?

    I know we’re talking about percentages & rates, but the 3% seems low compared to the 60-70% stat

    [D: Exposure to the risk of divorce is cumulative. Over 10 years a 3% annual divorce rate becomes 30%. As the couple ages this starts to taper off some though.]

  11. @Bob

    They’re insane and brainwashed into thinking attraction isn’t a biological urge based on mate-value in which youth and fertility are rewarded. Women these days have no idea what the word “attractive” means. They honestly think they can turn heads as middle-aged women competing against 22 year olds. The only edge they have is, as you mentioned, their nondiscriminating tastes when it comes to hookups. They’ll have sex with men who coeds wouldn’t acknowledge in a public room and do things that would embarrass the average porn actress. On the quantity vs. quality scale of our already demolished spectrum, “milfs” (they wish) occupy the far end of quantity. No man wants to get entangled with them long-term so it’s play dates instead.

    I was arguing against two women in this comment thread of the Daily Caller over the issue of Taran Noah Smith of Home Improvement marrying a 33 year old woman when he was 17. These women seemed aghast that men would think dealing with a woman who is 52 when they are 35 (and later 62 when they are 45) is unappealing.

    One of them even commented that her mother is “a looker” at the age of 78. I can’t make this up. It’s true.(http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/25/what-ever-happened-to-the-home-improvement-brothers/)

    Survey for all the guys here: could you find a 78 year old woman “attractive?”

  12. 22to28 says:

    Well, I officially feel dumb now. After the first couple paragraphs, I stopped being able to understand the statistics, charts and explanation. Did anyone else struggle with this? I’m confident that Dalrock has done a good job, yet again, but I’m at a loss at understanding what conclusion is reached and how it is reached.

  13. Vektor says:

    A man’s value has always been linked to his utility (to women). A man with no utility has no value and can be thrown on the trash heap (males are disposable).

    Briffault’s Law:
    “The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place.”

  14. Bob Wallace says:

    My experience has been there are a noticeable number who women who might be, say, 52, but still think they can act like 22-year-olds. They can’t, which is why so many of them are catty and bitchy toward younger women. Envy. “If I can’t be you I’ll bring you down so you can’t have any fun either.”

    Then you get those middle-aged women who think they can divorced their husbands and find that proverbial yard with greener grass. I think a lot of that is envy, too. “Look at what so-and-so has with her handbags and shoes and clothes! I should have that, too! I’m not happy!”

    The end result of all of this? Spinsters blaming their problems on them. Sometimes those spinsters are quite young, unattractive and overweight. They’re called feminists, and they, too, want to make women like them so they can’t have any fun, either. And, again, is based on envy, which is why I believe that feminism has always been based on the envy of men, and to a lesser extent, envy of women who have more than they do.

  15. Dalrock says:

    @22to28

    Well, I officially feel dumb now. After the first couple paragraphs, I stopped being able to understand the statistics, charts and explanation. Did anyone else struggle with this? I’m confident that Dalrock has done a good job, yet again, but I’m at a loss at understanding what conclusion is reached and how it is reached.

    I don’t think it is you. I’m getting over a headcold and am still somewhat cloudy. What should have taken me 45 minutes to type out yesterday took me several hours. I apologize for the lack of clarity.

    A conclusion would have helped as well. Basically I only see evidence for a weak instantaneous effect (less than one percent when the impact on both groups is tallied). Not only did I not find evidence for a cumulative effect, but it turns out divorced men are actually improving the zero earnings stats for unmarried men as a group. This really surprised me. When I started the analysis my guess was the instantaneous effect would be small, but I thought the cumulative effect was likely bigger.

  16. Anonymous age 71 says:

    >>Survey for all the guys here: could you find a 78 year old woman “attractive?”

    Um, not for seven more years. Of course, I am joking. Even at my age I can have younger women here in rural Mexico. If I had a 78 year old lover, the young women would throw rocks at me. My wife is 71, but they expect a man to be with his own wife.

    I recommend sticking with your wife, if she is a tolerable wife, no matter how old she gets. But, I do not recommend starting out with a 71 or 78 year old wife. Makes no sense. There are over 3 billion women on the planet, and most of them are young.

    Another possible situation where you might find a 78 year old woman attractive would be if you volunteer to go on a one-way trip to Mars and she is the only woman there.

  17. Opus says:

    I think a lot of this may be fairly laid at the doors of your founding Fathers – Life, Liberty (are perhaps fine, but) and the pursuit of Haaaaaaaaaaapiness (is asking for trouble). Is there not a contradiction between such noble enlightenment aspirations and Christian values (such as Faith Hope and Charity). I’d say the Enlightenment values raise the bar just that bit too high, and inevitably in its Utopian dream leads to the very opposite of what it seeks, namely considerable unhaaaaaaappiness.

  18. AmStrat says:

    @Opus

    At the time it made sense. There’s a movie called “The Pursuit of Happiness” (it might have been spelled Happyness since it is misspelled in the movie in a school, but I don’t know) in which there’s a remark in the main character’s head that perhaps when Thomas Jefferson wrote that, he understood that no one could ever *have* happiness, and at best could only have the pursuit of happiness, as nothing you do is guaranteed to make you happy, even if you really want it, and if you do achieve happiness, it is fleeting and may leave without notice.

    Of course, our Founding Fathers wrote that without imagining such a thing as the 19th amendment, just as we (mostly) don’t even imagine the 29th amendment, the right for children to vote.

  19. I’m recovering from having driven 13 hours yesterday, so I hoped my road weariness would mesh with the head cold effect and help me understand.

    It didn’t. But like someone else said, its likely not Dalrock’s normally excellent statistical analysis, its that I need to read it tomorrow.

    A notable if irrelevant anecdotal observation. Today the number of people that can stand, per square foot, in the Disney parks, has decreased from 15 years ago. A square foot is still the same size. Something else changed.

  20. @Opus and @AmStrat

    Originally it was Locke’s “Life, liberty, property” sentiment that they were going for, however, Jefferson wanted the third item to be something that the British Empire couldn’t easily deprive one of. Thus property was replaced with the freedom to pursue happiness. That’s how we got stuck with this wonderful intangible entitlement that seems to get more vague every year as the greedy electorate tries to turn an attitude into a justification for their choice good or product (healthcare, housing, etc.). If Jefferson had resisted his urge to have a “Braveheart” moment (muh freedom!) we’d have a lot less stupid arguments about whether I should be funding the vacuum-evacuation of some woman’s womb after she decided her pursuit of happiness didn’t really have room for a kid at the moment.

  21. lozozozozozoz says:

    @Karamazov

    ( OT)

    You are awesome dude – why did you take down your site?

  22. methinks dat if we are going to talk about economics and marriage, we may wish to acknowledge da elephant in da room–da federal reserve–and how it is funding feminism to destory the family alongside fatherhood:

    one of the hallmarks of our time is that Christians never quote Jesus, and economists never talk about money and who has the power to create it from thin air, and what their goals are.

    and so we get rick warren and joel olsteen instead of fatherhood, economics, truth, science, and families.

    lzlozozozozozozozo

  23. 22to28 says:

    @Dalrock

    My mother once told me about a study that showed that on the long run, the divorced men generally ended up better off than their ex-wives. I never saw the study and beyond her mention of it, know nothing about it, but it seems it would potentially fit with your findings, as you described them in your helpful response to my comment.

    Arguably, it could be that in an age of cash and prizes for divorce, that women married to men with notable earning potential may be more likely to divorce, because there would be more cash and prizes to be gained.

    Although in response, I’ve heard (and once again have absolutely no source) that money issues is the leading cause of divorce, so my theory could be terrible.

    Divorce being as expensive as it is, it could be that women with truly unmotivated men can’t consider divorce, because there will be no one to pay for the lawyers.

    Also, for all we know, a divorced man, without the stress of an unhappy married and saddled with debt from paying for his divorce proceedings might be more motivated than MGTOW that have never married and have as much of a no frills existence as possible.

    Once again, these suggestions are completely unsubstantiated and just thought off the top of my head. But I’d love it if at some point in time, you investigated anything in this vein. Real data analysis fascinates me. I much prefer facts to best guesses.

  24. feeriker says:

    Th e Karamazov Idea said:
    Originally it was Locke’s “Life, liberty, property” sentiment that they were going for, however, Jefferson wanted the third item to be something that the British Empire couldn’t easily deprive one of. Thus property was replaced with the freedom to pursue happiness.

    Aha – so that’s why those in positions of authoriteh here in Amerika show no respect for the private property of the citizenry! I KNEW it had roots in the scribblings of the founding documents.

  25. @Dalrock

    Thanks for the explanation, I thought it was cumulative, just didnt realise the period, skim reading … lol

    Have you thought of extending this to injuries & disabilities too? Not just wage earning, most people have investments, properties, businesses which bring in cash when out of work, which get counted as earned wages

    It would also be interesting to see how staggered the divorce rates are for real 0 wage earners,

    i’m not sure if there any are real 0 wage earners, as most married men have tons of savings assets, investments etc

    The days of broke men marrying are rare, from my stats its the 50-150k with the highest marriage rates

    I’m pretty sure thats whats skewing the results, the low number of wage earners, with no real investments & the high numbers of 0 wage earners with savings etc

    Plus as BC pointed out, the staggered effect of life savings & investments

    I’d find out the savings, investments etc, of married men & subtract against those with no savings etc., & recorrelate the stats, for a much clearer picture?

    This’d also give us a clear staggered result of 0 wage earners & years it takes to divorce after hitting rock bottom for most married men, by their wives

  26. @lozozozozozoz

    The tattoo post drew a bit too much heat. My anonymity was compromised due to some sleuthing and I’m not quite in the position to go public. Of all the outright offensive thoughtcrime type political incorrectness I posted, I’m still somewhat confused as to why that particular nugget finally galvanized the social justice warriors to jump on me.

  27. ghostof503 says:

    @22to28
    “My mother once told me about a study that showed that on the long run, the divorced men generally ended up better off than their ex-wives.”

    I can only speak for myself but I think that is true. I’d bet for a lot of men, a bad first marriage is a great primer for how to deal with hamsters. After my uncle divorced his of a cheating ex-wife he managed to land a much better SO (I’d seriously classify this woman as an alpha female: Loaded, smart, beautiful, kind, wanting a family)

    The ex husband from EPL marries a diplomat after spending a couple years doing humanitarian work and gets a couple kids. Elizabeth is filing divorce from Filipe.

  28. Opus says:

    It was Bob Wallace’s above remark that put me in mind of Life Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (thus not intentionally OT).

    ————————————————–

    Intrigued, I decided to find out what I could about Karamazov’s Tattoo post, and came across a site entitled Getoffmyinternet, where pages of comments assure us that NAWALT (sluts) with large amounts of ad hominem attacks aimed at Karamazov – so he has my sympathy. Let’s hope no one tells them about a certain thread at a blog I will refrain from naming. Clearly the issue of Tats drives people crazy, which is usually a very good indication that one is right on target (flak comes then).

    I am sure eventually, as with Tanning, the fashion will pass leaving a younger generation to quietly shake their heads as they inwardly laugh at an older generation, unable to rid themselves of the unsightly mess. A bad haircut will grow out; wearing flairs and tie-dies can be corrected (except in old photographs) even owning a clapped out Ford Capri with go-faster strips can go to the breakers yard, but Tats are there forever.

  29. 22to28 says:

    @ghostof503

    I would guestimate that a woman silly enough to divorce for cash and prizes will probably get herself into debt fast enough to undermine the benefit of the easy cash flow from alimony and child support.

    Whereas that man may only get to see his kids every other weekend, will not only have time to shoulder the financial burden of the A&CS payments, but do a little better for himself on the long run through not overspending and living simpler for the time being.

    If his income increases, his A&CS payments may increase. But if his income stays the same, but he’s able to bank cash while living simply, he’ll later be able to buy a new car and house with a higher percentage of cash, thereby avoiding the hefty cost of a mortgage and better maximizing his existing income level without increasing A&CS payments.

    10-15 years down the road, he’ll be in a great place financially (if the divorce courts don’t immediately ruin him beyond repair) and he’ll have had lots of time to think about what type of woman he really wants to be with.

    If divorced at 30, he could be remarried to a lovely woman with a mostly paid for house by 45.

    Its a step climb, but it would make sense in terms of the picture the statistics lay out for us.

  30. deti says:

    @ Karamazov:

    “Survey for all the guys here: could you find a 78 year old woman “attractive?””

    There is no universe or set of facts of which I am aware in which a 78 year old woman is “attractive” physically.

    This makes me lulz every time I read it.

    You should scroll through one of Dalrock’s threads, I think it’s the “Are Women Over 50 Done With Men?” post, in which a commenter referred to a “79 year old knockout”.

    Ridiculous.

    [D: Good call. This is the comment. See also Dalrock's Law.]

  31. TFH says:

    “Survey for all the guys here: could you find a 78 year old woman “attractive?””

    No. Never.

    Even at half that age – 39 – very few women are still attractive in absolute terms.

  32. Dalrock says:

    @22to28

    My mother once told me about a study that showed that on the long run, the divorced men generally ended up better off than their ex-wives. I never saw the study and beyond her mention of it, know nothing about it, but it seems it would potentially fit with your findings, as you described them in your helpful response to my comment.

    Do you recall how she meant “better off”? Emotionally? Financially? Romantically? The reality is that divorce is immensely destructive, and despite the family court going to extremes to transfer all of the damage away from women and instead to their ex husband and their children, it still tends to blow up on women too. There was a study or (or maybe more than one) several decades back that claimed that women needed even more cash and prizes because husbands were making out like bandits after their wives frivorced them. If she was talking financially this might be what she had in mind. I don’t recall the study but I’m sure someone else here will know the name. Romantically there is little question that men (on average) do better than women, especially if the couple is older at the time of divorce (given the delay in marriage nearly all current divorces are in this range). I went through some stats on the remarriage topic here. Also, the AARP did a study on “late life divorce”, with most of the divorces studied occuring when the survey respondents were in their 40s. It found that very large percentages of the women (who initiated the divorces 2-1) end up terribly alone, but the men fared much better. I included a quote from the AARP study in the post on remarriage stats I linked above.

  33. MarcusD says:

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=04UzvAKmOGMC

    “The Oxford Handbook of Social Exclusion” (2013) page 77 and on has some interesting statistics and information on divorce. One study drew conclusions from 600 million people (yes, 600 million).

  34. 22to28 says:

    @Dalrock

    The discussion was entirely about financial outcomes.

  35. Bob Wallace says:

    The correct translation of “the pursuit of happiness” is the Greek “eudaimonia,” which means “flourishing/well-being.” It’s achieved through “arete,” or “excellence.” Vince Lombardi, of all people, noticed the same thing, and wrote about it. That’s why he became such a winning coach.

  36. Ton says:

    Can I find a 78 year old woman attractive…… how much money does she have? How many heirs? How long does she have to live?

  37. Nietzsche says:

    Loaded, famous men are cheated on.

  38. Johnycomelately says:

    Dalrock

    Given this is a pro marriage blog, I wonder if down the track you would have a stab at cohabitation trends (as you are the stats king).

    Given that it is a growing trend and has a negative impact on marriage and women’s living standards (significantly contributes to single motherhood and childlessness), I wonder if it would be a good avenue of approach.

    A good preamble site.

    http://ncfamily.org/stories/130411s1.html

  39. They Call Me Tom says:

    It was interesting in the statistics that the number of zero earners and number of divorces aren’t all that connected to each other… maybe a third as many experience loss of income as experiencing divorce.

    All sorts of conclusions might be made. On one hand, you could say that frivorce would seem to have to make up at least 2/3rds of divorces…and that is only if all zero income males ended up divorced, otherwise it’s over 2/3rds. Another stat to look at it in the mix is abuse. I venture to guess though, that abuse leading to divorce is probably even less prevalent than loss of income leading to divorce.

    I would venture to guess though, if the statistics could be found, because women in groups tend to behave as herds socially (NAWALT, etc. I know), I would imagine that somewhere above half of all divorces are by women who have one or more divorced friends.

    In short hand, women that truly commit to their husband (leave the flock) don’t get divorces for the most part. Women who can’t leave the herd, can’t commit to their husbands, and tend to get divorced.

  40. MarcusD says:

    “The average man who became divorced or separated was actually better off one year later, although the improvements in his situation were less marked than those experienced by the average intact couple.”

    “The inclusion of those who have remarried in the calculation of the economic consequences of divorce improves substantially the average income/needs of women. By the fifth year following the divorce or separation the average divorced woman is better off than in the year before divorce. The average, of course, includes both those who did remarry (the majority of whom are better off) and those who did not remarry (the majority of whom are in a worse position).”

    “A close look at the income flows in the years following a divorce or separation reveals marked differences in the distribution of effects. The economic consequences of divorce are especially adverse for women. In most cases, children remain with the mother, who usually has considerably lower potential labor market earnings than her former husband, partly because her responsibilities for the children are likely to reduce her labor supply and may have limited her past human capital investments. Alimony and child support are the principal mechanisms for transfers from the ex-husband to the ex-wife, but payments are rarely frequent or sizeable enough to make up for an appreciable amount of the labor income lost through the departure of the ex-husband. Human capital investments on the part of the mother have a modest effect on her economic situation in the years following the divorce. Most men who divorce or separate are immediately better off because they retain most of their labor incomes, typically do not pay large amounts of alimony and child support to their ex-wives, and no longer have to provide for the level of needs associated with their former families. Much more important than growth in the ex-wife’s own labor income is the role of a new husband’s labor income upon her remarriage. More than half of the white women remarry within five years following a divorce or separation; the comparable fraction for black women is less than half.”

    Duncan, Greg J., and Saul D. Hoffman. “A reconsideration of the economic consequences of marital dissolution.” Demography 22.4 (1985): 485-497.
    —————–

    “Second, and more enduringly, there will be added ongoing costs associated with running a second household. Most of the literature suggests that this hardship falls disproportionately on mothers (Bartfeld, 2000; Bianchi, 1992; Bianchi, Subaiya, & Kahn, 1999; Burkhauser, Duncan, Hauser, & Bernsten, 1990, 1991; Corcoran, 1979; David & Flory, 1989; Duncan & Hoffman, 1985; Espenshade, 1979; Garfinkel, McLanahan, & Hanson, 1998; Hoffman & Duncan, 1985; Holden & Smock, 1991; Peterson, 1996; Sayer, 2006; Smock, Manning, & Gupta, 1999; Sorenson, 1992; Teachman & Paasch, 1994; Weiss, 1984).”

    “In contrast, Braver et al. (2005 ; see also Braver, 1999; Braver & O’Connell, 1998) have contended that, if proper accounting is made, the post-divorce circumstances of fathers and mothers are largely equal in the short term , while in the long run, the majority of divorced mothers fare better than their ex-husbands. To understand the debate requires understanding the operational definition of “standard of living.” Most researchers focus on the income-to-needs ratio , in which the household’s annual income is divided by the Federal Poverty Threshold (FPT) for comparable households. Because child support is very frequently paid by one divorced parent and received by the other (and less frequently, alimony is also paid), both are virtually always subtracted from the payer’s annual income and added to the recipient’s before division by the FPT. But Braver and his colleagues (2005) argued that at least two crucial, yet obvious factors have been typically omitted when such calculations are made.

    First, all such calculations are based on gross income, yet, only after tax income can be used to support families. It turns out that custodial parents are taxed far more advantageously than noncustodial parents. Through such tax devices as the Head of Household filing status, the Earned Income Credit, and the Child Tax Credit, the IRS in effect subsidizes the standard of living in the custodial but not noncustodial households. Second, most of the above researchers have assumed that, other than child support, 100% of the children’s expenses are borne by custodial parents, while noncustodial parents were assumed to pay nothing : no child meals, no child transportation costs, $0 to entertain the children, nothing to provide room for the children in their homes, and no share of medical insurance or medical expenses, etc. In other words, most analyses do not take into account any kind of visitation expenses, nor any direct payments by noncustodial parents for the children, although these are often appreciable (Fabricius & Braver, 2003). Braver and Stockburger (2004) and Rogers and Bieniewicz (2004) specify a set of reasonable and robust assumptions, concerning the cost of children relative to adults, and the proportion of child’s expenses that travel with the child, and economies of scale, that can be used to correct estimates for those expenses borne by noncustodial parents instead of the custodial parents. Using such assumptions, Braver and O’Connell (1998) and Braver (1999) found that the average standards of living shortly after divorce for mothers and fathers were equivalent.

    And what of the longer term? Few researchers have studied anything beyond about 18 months after the divorce, but two very common events become significant as time progresses. First, the salaries of many custodial mothers increase: Duncan and Hoffman (1985) found that, by 5 years after divorce, women who remained single increased their standard of living by 34%. Men’s salaries do not increase similarly because most already earn close to their maximum capacity at the time of divorce. Second, most divorced parents remarry as time progresses. According to Bumpass, Sweet, and Castro-Martin (1990), about two-thirds of divorced mothers and about three-quarters of divorced fathers remarry. When they do, the economics change again. When mothers remarry, they gain more income than expenses, whereas fathers do the reverse (Fabricius, Braver, & Deneau, 2003). Thus, remarriage tends to make mothers’ standards of living higher than fathers’. If the parents’ standards of living were about equal shortly after the divorce, these two factors combine to make the long-term financial effects of divorce, on average, more favorable to mothers than to fathers.”

    Braver, Sanford L., and Michael E. Lamb. “Marital Dissolution.” Handbook of Marriage and the Family (2013): 487-516.
    —————–

    “The underlying theory behind child support guidelines implies that child support orders should change when the incomes of noncustodial parents change. This paper documents changes in noncustodial fathers’ earnings over a five-year period and examines the relationship between the changes in earnings and modifications in child support orders. Using detailed longitudinal administrative data from Wisconsin, the authors examine the history of orders and earnings for fathers in couples who had their first child support ordered in 2000. A substantial proportion of fathers experience large changes in earnings, but relatively few of the associated child support orders are modified. Using discrete-time multinomial event history models that consider time-varying variables and control for censored observations, we find some evidence of changes in earnings being associated with changes in orders, all else equal, but the relationship is relatively weak and order changes are not proportional to earnings changes. The findings highlight the challenges and importance of developing policies that result in child support orders being more responsive to changes in fathers’ incomes.”

    Ha, Yoonsook, Maria Cancian, and Daniel R. Meyer. “Unchanging child support orders in the face of unstable earnings.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 29.4 (2010): 799-820.
    —————–

    “The present work is concerned with the economic consequences of marital disruption for both members of the separating couples. Most of the literature on this topic assesses whether there is a large gender bias, with women being exposed to high poverty risks in the aftermath of separation whereas men seem not to experience any dramatic drop in their income and are sometimes even better off after divorce or separation. Some researchers (McManus and DiPrete, 2001) have challenged this evidence, suggesting that the gender bias is less strong than is generally acknowledged, and that men also suffer economically after marital disruption. Here we suggest two issues that are essential to this debate: firstly the conventional measures of well-being (i.e. income and poverty status) are not entirely satisfying. Poverty status creates a distinction between ‘poor’ and ‘non-poor’, but it is not clear which poverty line should be considered appropriate and why. Moreover, income and poverty status do not encapsulate all the dimensions underlying poverty and social exclusion—only the monetary one. We may expect that men are not suffering in monetary terms in the aftermath of separation but they experience an increased deprivation in life style standards all the same because of a rise in expenses due to alimony payments, new dwelling costs, etc. The second issue concerns selection. This is driven by the fact that men and women who are at high risk of entering poverty may be more likely to avoid separation. By using a propensity score matching procedure combined with a difference-in-differences estimator we control for such a selection bias.

    We expect that, by using different measures of well-being, we can observe that both men and women experience an economic deprivation after separation, women being more deprived in monetary terms and men in non-monetary terms. The results conform largely to our expectations: it is confirmed that the definition of the poverty threshold is an important issue. Results differ considerably depending on whether we use a 50%, 60% or 70% poverty line. Moreover when we use monetary measures (i.e. poverty status and relative income) it is unquestionable that women suffer a disproportionately larger negative effect than men. Also important is that, by using monetary measures, we find that most of the results are consistent with welfare regime theory. However, the non-monetary measures (i.e. indices of deprivation) provide a different picture. Women are still found to suffer significantly more than men, but it is also clear that men’s level of deprivation also increases, and in some cases there is no significant difference between the ATET that is estimated for men and women (this is so in liberal countries when using the overall index of deprivation and the secondary life style deprivation index).

    Children play an important role in explaining the gender differences. If there are children in the conjugal dwelling, then mothers are much more likely to be granted custody following a divorce. Thus the divorce event will for many women imply reduced income (poorer access to the husband’s income) and a higher relative expenditure. Men, in contrast, are likely to live alone or with parents and are much less likely to experience poverty and financial strain. Considering couples with children only in the analysis of entering poverty, we notice that in liberal and Mediterranean countries the gender gap is even larger, in social democratic countries it is smaller and in the conservative countries it remains virtually unaltered.

    However, in terms of deprivation, men do suffer significantly. Many of the items that are used to compute the index of deprivation refer to characteristics of the dwelling. If it is the case that men normally must leave the dwelling following a divorce, they will, in the short run at least, lose out on many of the goods and services that the household would provide. So, although men are not worse off financially, they are worse off in terms of consumer durables and certain expenditure goods. It also seems likely that the new dwelling is often of poorer quality than the original dwelling, which is consistent with our estimates.

    The gender difference is clearly smaller when children are not present in the dwelling. With no children, the effect on life style deprivation among men becomes higher, whereas it is slightly smaller for women. One important factor here is that it is less clear which of the spouses will remain in the conjugal dwelling if the couple have no children.”

    Aassve, Arnstein, et al. “Marital disruption and economic well‐being: a comparative analysis.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) 170.3 (2007): 781-799.
    —————–

    “Women seem to be less satisfied with the quality of their pre-divorce relationship which is reflected in the fact that most divorces are filed by women. Generally, the one who initiates divorce has a temporal advantage because he or she has planned the event earlier and has already thought about the consequences. Additionally, the initiator has already confronted himself or herself with the emotions that go along with the decision. This creates a feeling of being more in control of the situation. As a consequence, it is often women who improve their post-divorce situation in the long run in terms of relationship qualities and personal development in the private and the public spheres.”

    Gaffal, Margit. “Factors Influencing Ex-spouses’ Adjustment to Divorce.” Psychosocial and Legal Perspectives of Marital Breakdown. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2010. 47-81.
    —————–

    “We use fifteen years of data to address the economic consequences of divorce. The stark conclusion is that men’s household income increases by about 23% on divorce once we control for household size, whereas women’s household income falls by about 31%. There is partial recovery for women, but this recovery is driven by repartnering: the average effect of repartnering is to restore income to pre-divorce levels after nine years. Those who do not repartner tend to be older and have children. For these individuals, and for those in poor health at the time of divorce, the long-term economic consequences of divorce are serious. For some, these long-term consequences are offset by increased labour supply, but the effects are small, and this ignores any extra costs such as childcare which may arise from working. For others, government provided benefits provide some cushion to the cost of divorce. On the positive side, we present evidence that these costs of divorce for women have been mitigated over time and more recent divorces have not led to the same falls in household income as earlier divorces.”

    Fisher, Hayley, and Hamish Low. “Who wins, who loses and who recovers from divorce?.” Sharing Lives, Dividing Assets. Oxford: Hart Publishing (2009).
    —————–

    “One of the side effects of the sharp rise in divorce rates in most Western developed countries over the last few decades is the increase in the number of single-parent families, most of them headed by women. Because single-mother families are overrepresented among poor families and families who receive welfare support, most of the previous research focused on the profound economic implications of divorce for women and children, and on the discrepancies between the economic outcomes experienced by women and those experienced by men.”

    Raz-Yurovich, Liat. “Divorce penalty or divorce premium? A longitudinal analysis of the consequences of divorce for men’s and women’s economic activity.” European sociological review 29.2 (2013): 373-385.
    —————–

    For those who think feminism and statistics are a bad combination:

    “Shortchanged: Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It”

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=_kmGw981m0wC

    —————–

    Another interesting study:

    Braver, Sanford, Ira Ellman, and Robert MacCoun. “Public Intuitions About Fair Child Support Allocations: Converging Evidence for an ‘Ability to Contribute’ Rule.” Available at SSRN 2110376 (2012).

  41. Opus says:

    @Bob Wallace

    It is interesting to observe how a term, Happiness, can become debased from its original – Eudaimonia. For the Greeks it merely referred to the Greek elite’s civilised behaviour and merely the male elite at that – Women, Metics and Slaves, could not be expected to aspire to the same – at least it would have been pointless to do so. Contrast that, by way of example, with (on this Blogs other currently popular thread) a Man’s attempt to treat happiness as indistinguishable from sensuousness. Eudaimonia required certain standards or arête. Wallowing in sin (to use a Christian term) would not have been regarded as even coming close to that excellence, no matter how temporarily pleasurable. There are plenty of examples these days from the Church of Latter-day Sophists which attempt to rebrand sensual pleasure as arête excellence. If it feels good it must be desirable – the cry of the glutton and rake throughout the ages – is now the liberal justification for any behaviour.

  42. Yep It's Me says:

    Personal experience here…

    My pending divorce was brought about by two events: the loss of funding for my business (which resulted in $0 income and my inability to “quickly overcome” that event from a mental aspect. My wife was used to the ups and downs in my income – we had survived a series of cycles. What she couldn’t overcome was my depression. Hell, I almost didn’t survive it either.

    It was the loss of faith in me to “get up” one more time.

  43. http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Initiates-told-penises-will-grow-back-20130728

    The Ton approved method of turning boys into men. Now all they need is some MMA training, some new dicks and they’ll be well on their way to bringing the tingles.

  44. Cane Caldo says:

    @Opus

    By rights you should be a Christian. I look forward to it.

  45. Dalrock says:

    I’ve revised the explanation of the calculations and added a conclusion. It really was confusing the way I had it written up originally. Hopefully it is better now. If it still isn’t clear, please let me know.

  46. I’ve revised the explanation of the calculations and added a conclusion. It really was confusing the way I had it written up originally. Hopefully it is better now. If it still isn’t clear, please let me know.

    You may have made the most sage remark early in the piece when you said:

    This question may not be of interest to many of my readers

    Half joke.

    In my case, the ability to follow the analysis functionally diminishes with the will to do so.

    [D: Fair enough. The answer is only as interesting as the question. For most I assume that level of detail isn't of much interest. It would have been sexier if I had proven I got it all wrong on the first post, but the data wouldn't comply.]

  47. hurting says:

    Dalrock says:
    July 30, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Dal,

    Sorry if I missed it, but have you (or someone else) addressed the ‘point of departure’ earnings level for divorce? I think I recall seeing it here somehwere – that is, the idea that women initiate divorce not so much at the point of zero (least) earnings but rather at the apex of the expected husband’s earnings.

    It would seem to me that there would be a lot of women seeking divorce when their husbands were in the 45-54 (or thereabouts and probably toward the lower bound) age bracket due to the following factors: 1.) peak earnings for the man (to wring out maximum alimony) 2.) the possibility that the kids are still of minority age (facilitating chilimony extraction) 3.) the wife’s belief (however misguided) that she still has a great number of viable options. 4.) the length of marriage kicking in additional benefits for the frivorcer (vesting in pensions; state/local rules for alimony)

  48. hurting says:

    Sorry, should have written husband’s expected earnings above, although the expected husband’s earnings (next sucker in) obviously factor in.

  49. Dalrock says:

    @hurting

    That would seem like a rational plan, but as you can see from the first table in the post divorce rates are highest when the man is youngest and steadily decline as he gets older. I think this is driven by the age of the woman however, and the two are just correlated. The woman’s perceived ability to remarry seems to swamp all other considerations. Note also that men’s opportunity to turn the tables later in life (and trade her in for a younger model) doesn’t even register as a blip.

    You can take the percentages listed in the first table and if you drop the % and multiply the numbers by 10 you have divorces per 1000 married men by age, which is the flip side of the same data I presented (by women’s age) from the same data set here.

  50. hurting says:

    http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/fentons-hypothesis/#comment-88270

    I think I understand your point, although the salience of my own experience (which informs my hypothesis) is really hard to look past.

    Thanks.

  51. Dalrock says:

    @hurting

    I think I understand your point, although the salience of my own experience (which informs my hypothesis) is really hard to look past.

    That makes sense. One thing that came to mind just now is I did run into some data which might fit what you are describing. If you look at data on what percent of marriages make it past x anniversary, there is a spike in marriages ending during the second and third five year periods which bucks the long term trend of declining divorce risk as the marriage (and therefore the couple) ages. I charted this out here, based on data from this table. See this post if you want more information on how I charted that data.

  52. Note also that men’s opportunity to turn the tables later in life (and trade her in for a younger model) doesn’t even register as a blip.

    This, to me, is very interesting and revelatory of the emotional attachment (in this case its lack) that drives marriage, divorce, remarriage when women are driving. It would obviously make sense that this power shift would be germane to the likelihood of the man stepping away, but that she truly could not care less about that seems counter intuitive. Because it is.

    In fact she in some twisted way LIKES that he can and especially if he does do this because along with the cash and prizes comes a new fount of her life’s pursuit….empathy.

  53. Ton says:

    You know what I advocate and abuse in any form is not it. Now stop being a pussy FH and go eat that gun. It is the only way you can make the world a better place.

  54. Dalrock says:

    @Empath

    This, to me, is very interesting and revelatory of the emotional attachment (in this case its lack) that drives marriage, divorce, remarriage when women are driving. It would obviously make sense that this power shift would be germane to the likelihood of the man stepping away, but that she truly could not care less about that seems counter intuitive. Because it is.

    I think we are talking about different things. My point wasn’t that wives aren’t influenced by the fact that their husband has the opportunity to trade them in for a newer model (I very much believe they are). My point was that each sex has their relative opportunity to have a go at divorce theft. Conventional wisdom is that this is overwhelmingly men trading wives in for a younger model. This no doubt does happen, but statistically it is dwarfed by the wife’s choice of whether to divorce or not. When wives are young and are in the position to profit from divorce theft, the divorce decisions of the wife dominate the data. When wives are older and husbands are in a position to profit from divorce theft, the divorce decisions of the wife still dominate the data. You can corroroborate this by looking at the AARP survey data on who initiates “late life divorce”. As I recall it was about 66% women. This is slightly lower than the standard 3-1 they normally initiate divorce, but they are still the ones initiating the vast bulk of divorces.

  55. MarcusD says:

    Okay, the reduced post (>500 words from each source):

    @They Call Me Tom
    “I would venture to guess though, if the statistics could be found, because women in groups tend to behave as herds socially (NAWALT, etc. I know), I would imagine that somewhere above half of all divorces are by women who have one or more divorced friends.”

    Well, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

    “The first author (working with Jenessa Shapiro) hit upon a promising device to elucidate these issues. Reasoning that popular magazines both reflected and galvanized distinctive cultural views, Braver and Shapiro speculated that subscription rates to certain of these magazines across times and locales could provide an empirical window onto these trends. They thus obtained state-by-state, year-by-year subscription data for the following four magazines: Lady’s Home Journal (read almost entirely by women with fairly traditional values and interests); Playboy (glorifying male hedonism); Cosmopolitan (representing lifestyle advice for “fun, fearless females” seeking empowerment, self improvement, and sexual fulfillment); and Ms. (representing the feminist ideology closely associated with the Women’s Movement). Arraying these subscription rates in a multi-level model against the year-by-year, state-by-state (crude) divorce rates, Braver and Shapiro found (in results not previously published) that changes in divorce rates at the state level were well matched by the state’s trends in subscriptions to Ms. Magazine , and were opposite (though not significantly) to its trends in subscriptions to Lady’s Home Journal. Importantly, they found virtually no association between the state’s divorce rate and its subscriptions to Playboy or Cosmopolitan. Taken together, these data provocatively suggest that some, but not all, value changes are associated with changes in divorce rates.”

    Braver, Sanford L., and Michael E. Lamb. “Marital Dissolution.” Handbook of Marriage and the Family (2013): 487-516.
    ————

    “The percent obtaining a divorce who also had a divorced friend or sibling (or both) was calculated using the procedure described in Table 5. Only 9% of those having no one divorced in their reference group obtained a divorce in the eight-year period. Those having a friend or a sibling divorce had a 12% chance of divorce. Whether it was one’s friend or sibling who divorced did not make a substantial difference in the probability of divorcing. When both a friend and a sibling obtained a divorce, the dissolution rate increased to 16%. When the norms for one’s reference group permit divorce, marital dissolution is more likely to occur than when they do not.”

    Booth, Alan, John N. Edwards, and David R. Johnson. “Social integration and divorce.” Social Forces 70.1 (1991): 207-224.
    ————

    “Following a Durkheimian definition (Durkheim, 1897/1951; Stark, 2006), social integration involves high consensus on rules of behavior (norms) and effective means to ensure that most people conform to the norms most of the time. Hence, the more they are socially integrated in any group, the more likely they are to comply with the norms of this group (Booth, Edwards, & Johnson, 1991). We assume that, in the perspective of the couple, important norms with respect to divorce might be derived from the patterns of behavior prevalent in the couple’s network. Thus, if divorce is a frequent occurrence in the couple’s network, the couple is expected to divorce more easily, because common rules tolerate it, even if one is initially less open for divorce (Stalder, 2011). On the other hand, if divorce is not very frequent in the couple’s network, the couple is expected to stay together because divorce is, possibly, less accepted. For these couples, the social costs of divorcing will impede them to do so (e.g., Fenelon, 1971; Shelton, 1987).”

    “As expected, the experience of a parental divorce, having divorced siblings, and living in a municipality with a high divorce rate, predicted the likelihood with which couples dissolve their relationship. However, having a close friend who was divorced was not significantly related to the likelihood of dissolving a long-term romantic relationship. [...] We conclude that the first hypothesis regarding the association between the prevalence of divorce in the couple’s network and the likelihood of dissolving the relationship was supported by the findings, with the exception of divorce of a close friend, which was not related to relationship dissolution.”

    Hogerbrugge, Martijn JA, Aafke E. Komter, and Peer Scheepers. “Dissolving long-term romantic relationships Assessing the role of the social context.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 30.3 (2013): 320-342.
    ————

    “To study the possibility of person-to-person effects, we examined the direct ties and individual-level determinants of ego divorce status. In the models we present in Table 8, we control for several factors as noted earlier, and report the association between “Ego Currently Divorced” and “Alter Previously Divorced” in the first row. People who have a friend who has previously gotten divorced are 270% (95% C.I. 60% to 650%) more likely to get divorced themselves by the time they come to their next exam. Among friends, we can distinguish additional possibilities.”

    McDermott, Rose, James Fowler, and Nicholas Christakis. “Breaking up is hard to do, unless everyone else is doing it too: social network effects on divorce in a longitudinal sample followed for 32 years.” Unless Everyone Else is Doing it Too: Social Network Effects on Divorce in a Longitudinal Sample Followed for 32 (2009).
    ————

    “For marital status, as Table 5 shows, married respondents were very likely to have married close friends. Separated or divorced respondents most likely had married friends, but they also had a high percentage of separated or divorced friends. This trend was significant.”
    [Table 5: 35.3% vs 13.4% - that is, % of friends who are sep./div.]

    Goward, Eleanor L. “The closest friendships of adult women: a family life cycle approach.” (1991).
    ————

    “Following the divorce, most women report increased independence. In addition, almost all report an increase in assertive behaviours as divorced females. Half have divorced friends who may have encouraged the development of autonomy and self-esteem.”

    Langelier, Régis, and Pamela Deckert. “Divorce counseling guidelines for the late divorced female.” Journal of Divorce 3.4 (1980): 403-411.
    ————

    “A large body of sociological and social-psychological research shows that individuals’ actions are often influenced by the people with whom they interact (see e.g. Cialdini and Trost 1998), and this is also a recurrent theme throughout this book. The actions of significant others have been shown to be important for explaining a vast array of phenomena, including involvement in social movements (see e.g. McAdam and Paulsen 1993), virginity pledges (see e.g. Bearman and Bruckner 2001), lynching (see e.g. Tolnay, Deane, and Beck 1996), sexual behavior (see e.g. Billy, Brewster, and Grady 1994), contraceptive use (see e.g. Brewster 1994; Rosero Bixby and Casterline 1994), and suicide (see e.g. Phillips 1974; Bearn1an and Moody 2004; Hedstrom, Liu, and Nordvik 2008).

    Demographers have also paid some attention to social interactions and the contagious processes they may give rise to. An early study focusing on social interaction effects on divorce was that of Dean and Bresnahan ( 1969). They mapped the spatial patterning of divorce in a mid-sized city in the state of Ohio, and found that it resembled a ‘measles pattern’; that is, that divorce was spatially clustered. The pattern they found was suggestive and indicated that divorce may be contagious, but they did not have access to the type of data needed to test whether this was indeed the case. A more recent study, partially in the same tradition, is that of South and Lloyd (1995). They found that the risk of divorce for young people was substantially influenced by contextual factors. Most importantly, they found the sex ratio among singles residing in the same geographic area as the respondent to be important. This finding suggests that the supply of spousal alternatives in the local marriage market significantly influences the risk of marital dissolution.”

    “The decision to divorce is a decision taken under conditions of imperfect information. As much experimental social-psychological research has shown, it is in uncertain decision situations that a decision maker’s beliefs are likely to be particularly influenced by other people (e.g. Cialdini and Trost 1998). A married person cannot know exactly what his or her life will be like after a marital disruption. One way to reduce this uncertainty is to gather information from divorced friends and acquaintances. If they seem to manage well after their divorces, they are likely to influence the individual’s beliefs in such a way that the likelihood that the individual will initiate a divorce will increase. On the other hand, if they seem to be unhappy in their new status, they are likely to influence the individual’s beliefs in the opposite direction and thereby serve as deterrents. [...] Thus, all else being equal, the more divorcees a person encounters, the more likely it is that he or she will divorce.”

    Åberg, Yvonne. “The contagiousness of divorce.” The Oxford handbook of analytical sociology (2009).

    ============
    ============

    They Call Me Tom:
    “I venture to guess though, that abuse leading to divorce is probably even less prevalent than loss of income leading to divorce.”

    Well, this is important to think about as a starting point:

    “Income [...]

    For a given income level, having high aspirations and expectations have a negative effect on SWB (Macdonald and Douthitt, 1992 and Stutzer, 2004). Aspirations themselves appear to be driven in part by past incomes, implying adaptation to higher levels of income (Stutzer, 2004; Di Tella, Haisken-De New, & MacCulloch, 2005). The importance of aspirations reinforces findings that the perceptions of financial status have stronger predictive power than actual income (Haller and Hadler, 2006, Johnson and Krueger, 2006 and Wildman and Jones, 2002). These findings imply that additional income for those who are not at low levels of income is unlikely to increase SWB in the long run if the additional income serves to increase expectations of necessary income.”

    Dolan, Paul, Tessa Peasgood, and Mathew White. “Do we really know what makes us happy? A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being.” Journal of Economic Psychology 29.1 (2008): 94-122.

    [I know SWB is linked with divorce - I don't have any references for that at the moment, though.]

    ———————-

    The link with full quotes:

    http://simulacral-legendarium.blogspot.ca/2013/07/re-httpdalrock.html

    [To Dalrock: If the above is still too much in terms of quoting, feel free to cut it down to what you want - the link has everything in the original post.]

  56. MarcusD says:

    I’m an ‘inclusionist’ when it comes to quoting, by the way (still, about half of the original).

  57. No, we are on the same gist. I just worded my reply poorly, and focused on my per peeve, empathy.

  58. @ Feminist Hater:

    Thank you for providing that link regarding the South African men. In my opinion those poor men really do warrant sympathy as they seem to have no choice but to go along with their nutty culture and have that procedure done. Further evidence proving how fked up this world is.

  59. Martian Bachelor says:

    When feminists say “women only earn 77 cents on the dollar…” one of the many things they leave out is that women account for ~85% of the discretionary spending in the economy. Because of our feminized culture we hear constantly about the earnings gap but virtually nothing on the spending gap.

    The only way this arrangement is possible is if there’s a huge unreported transfer of wealth going on, an underground black market of men giving women money to spend.

    There are surely other forms of informal wealth transfer that don’t get reported as earnings. So an analysis based on who earns what can only go so far, because essentially one doesn’t know what happens to the $$’s after they’re earned, and before they next show up as someone earning them.

    In such a consumerist society, it’s somewhat bizarre that we track earning rather than spending. Though part of the reason why may be of a practical nature, there’s no doubt an element of willful blindess as well.

  60. They Call Me Tom says:

    Thank you Marcus for the abundance of information. I did read it all.

  61. MarcusD says:

    @Martian Bachelor

    http://iblognews.wordpress.com/2007/10/28/the-lie-of-the-gender-wage-gap/

    I have a study somewhere about male/female spending patterns – I’ll keep looking for it. I also came across an article a while ago that focused on how the media and corporations in general (via advertising) are nicer to people who have greater discretionary spending – that might explain why men being portrayed as idiots (to put it mildly) in advertising and on television would not hurt the bottom line of said corporations.

    @They Call Me Tom
    Glad you found it useful.

  62. feeriker says:

    Yep It’s Me said:
    My wife was used to the ups and downs in my income – we had survived a series of cycles. What she couldn’t overcome was my depression. Hell, I almost didn’t survive it either.
    It was the loss of faith in me to “get up” one more time.

    So she gave up on you at the point in your marriage when you needed her support more than ever?

    You should be glad you’ll be rid of her soon. There is no spouse more useless and ultimately destructive than one who just gives up and walks away when things [whine]“just g[e]t too haaaaaaaard.”[/whine]

  63. Ton, the man man, extra ‘man’ for fun, wants me to eat a bullet. No abuse in the intent there at all. Make the world a better place by offing myself, eh? Nah Ton, the world won’t be a better place, it will just be short of real people, like myself, and full of egotistical, stupid jocks, telling men to off themselves because they feel worthless.

    I will find my way, don’t you worry, Mr Man. I will find it without your silly advise.

  64. Feminist Hater

    I think part of your suffering comes from the fact that you look to a woman to fulfill your life. This is natural, but also impossible, even if it seems like it works for many people. Many on here argue the solution is to become more “attractive”. But they are mistaken. They reveal that their happiness is dependent on a woman. Only God can fill the void. And our pursuit is not for happiness. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Even if God does not give you a wife, you will be fulfilled, the loneliness and wanting will fade away! At the same time, life passes quickly, what is more important than increasing your treasures in heaven?

  65. How could it be that women are chasing after the cash when we all know so many women passing over the responsible men and going after the tattoo artist and rockband drummers and drug addicts?

    Perhaps after they get his resources, there’s no reason to keep him around???

    I’m confused

  66. Hopeful says:

    @Liberty, Family, and Masculinity

    “How could it be that women are chasing after the cash when we all know so many women passing over the responsible men and going after the tattoo artist and rockband drummers and drug addicts?

    Perhaps after they get his resources, there’s no reason to keep him around???

    I’m confused”

    Yes, it is very confusing. Believe me, women are just as confused as you are. As someone has already said on his blog, women just act and if their action provides the desired result then it was right; if it doesn’t, then it was a mistake.

    Not only do some women chase after cash, but they also have to have a brag-worthy, exciting man so they can rub it in their girlfriends’ faces. As has been mentioned before, a man needs status. They want someone who’s sensitive, yet commanding, is social, but not a party animal (per se), someone who’s smart, intellectual, thinks outside the box (with the help of drugs if necessary), but not snobby. The list goes on and varies from woman to woman.

    Responsible men may or may not have all these attributes, or may not have them to the same degree as bad boys do. So some women try to have the best of both worlds but having fun with bad boy, hooking up with responsible dude and his resources and then turning around back after bad boy for excitement.

  67. Anonymous Reader says:

    How could it be that women are chasing after the cash when we all know so many women passing over the responsible men and going after the tattoo artist and rockband drummers and drug addicts?

    Because female behavior changes over time. Because women want two things from men: sperm and resources, and they do not have to come from the same man. Because women can marry the state. Because “Alpha sperm and beta resources”. Because carousel in their 20’s and security (resources, money) in their 30’s.

    Because hypergamy. That’s how.

  68. lozozozozozozoz says:

    @YouHaveMyPermission

    I think part of your suffering comes from the fact that you look to a woman to fulfill your life. This is natural, but also impossible, even if it seems like it works for many people. Many on here argue the solution is to become more “attractive”. But they are mistaken. They reveal that their happiness is dependent on a woman. Only God can fill the void. And our pursuit is not for happiness. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Even if God does not give you a wife, you will be fulfilled, the loneliness and wanting will fade away! At the same time, life passes quickly, what is more important than increasing your treasures in heaven?

    This. This a million times over!

  69. GKChesteron says:

    Excellent statistical work. I don’t imagine it will garner the high comment count but it is really important work and thank-you for doing it.

  70. Anonymous Reader says:

    Not to threadjack, and feel free to delete, Dalrock, but…

    Hugo Schwyzer, Male Feminist, has now joined Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner in the sexting scandal club. I hope Roissy doesn’t harm himself by falling over laughing. The following link is Not Safe For Work in several places.

    http://therealpornwikileaks.com/hugoleaks-male-feminist-hugo-schwyzers-sexting-scandal-exposed-nsfw/

    It is fascinating to see how feminists, both male and female, essentially project their own dark side onto all men, over and over again, as Universal Truth.

  71. hurting says:

    http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/fentons-hypothesis/#comment-88273

    I suspect that all frivorces are put into play based on the individual parameters at play in the particular underlying marriages. To the extent that, as you point out, the woman’s likelihood of successful remarriage likely coincides with a long chilimony period, divorce in general would seem to be incentivized earlier than later, especially if there were not a high likelihood of alimony being awarded due to comparable earnings between the spouses.

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