Sin City

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 14.03.2006, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Michael Svarer (Aarhus University)


In this paper we test with a unique Danish data set what the effects of various forms of commitments on marriage duration is. Besides considering the usual suspects like the effects of: being married as opposed to cohabiting, having young and older kids, and home ownership, we also consider the effects of voluntary decreasing the arrival rate of potential new partners. This has to our knowledge not been studied before. In Gautier et al. (2005) we argue that the city serves as a marriage market. The basic idea is that the rate at which singles meet potential partners is higher in the city either because of a size-of-the-market effect or because cities are more densely populated. Therefore, singles (in particular the most attractive ones) will exploit this and move to the city. Those predictions are confirmed by the data. Here, we argue that the same observation can justify that a transition from the city to the countryside can be used as a credible commitment device for couples. By moving to the countryside, the number of outside offers decreases and hence the value of search, while married, decreases as well.

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