Education Level Marriage Gender Divorce Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

According to Stevensen and Wolfers, marriage is far from a static phenomena, and in subsequent research they contend that this specialization is far less likely, that women and men both work outside the home, marry later marriages are formed without the specific purpose of procreation. (Stevensen & Wolfers, 2007, p. 27)

Lastly, this work looked at another issue, associated with marriage and divorce, which looked at the period between 1980 and 2000 and determined that several basic trends are true of marital quality, between 1980 and 2000; marital interaction declined significantly. A decomposition analysis suggested that offsetting trends affected marital quality. Increases in marital heterogamy, premarital cohabitation, wives' extended hours of employment, and wives' job demands were associated with declines in multiple dimensions of marital quality. In contrast, increases in economic resources, decision-making equality, nontraditional attitudes toward gender, and support for the norm of lifelong marriage were associated with improvements in multiple dimensions of marital quality. Increases in husbands' share of housework appeared to depress marital quality among husbands but to improve marital quality among wives. (Amato, Johnson, Booth, & Rogers, 2004, p. 1)

All of the research associated with this topic indicates that economics is the biggest driving force behind marriage change, and most importantly education level and perceived independent economic security for women.


This work will take data from existing research as well as developing an independent set of criteria, surrounding debt load in marriage. Debt load can work as a deterrent for divorce but it can also work as a source of physiological concern for both members of the marriage. As debt load is a significant aspect of family economics this work will look at education level, family income, mortgage loan, family loan, number of dependent children and parental marital status. The econometric model for the work will be Y (Marriage Retention)= B1 (FI) +B2 FL (FL $1,000-20,000 or 20,000+) +B3 (ML $150,000 or 250,000 or greater) +B4 (NDC) +B5 (PMS) It is presumed that both debt load independent variable (FL) and (ML) as well as family state (NDC) will have positive effect on the marriage retention for both gender. The cohort chosen (n 100 50M 50F) will consist of married couples in 1st or second marriage after completion of at least two years of higher education. It is presumed that the result will produce a variant that is significant for those who have greater debt load ratio to income, i.e. those with greater debt load will be less likely to be seeking divorce, up to a certain level, at which point there may be a stress factor involved in the debt load to income ratio. Presumably number of dependent children will also provide a variable result and the last independent variable (PMS) is an unknown.


There is a clear sense from the literature that marriage is an ever evolving social institution. This institution is to a large degree dependent upon economics in the micro and macro sense. This work will discuss the issue of how debt load, dependent children status as well as parental marriage status affect educated men and women differently. The development a greater understanding of marriage retention trends among this cohort is essential to a greater understanding of the changing trends. Debt can be a significant factor with regard to divorce and/or marriage retention and this work will provide significant insight into the debt load/family income ratio for educated men and women. Seeking to understand at what point the pressures of debt outstrip the incentive that collective financial burden supports marriage retention and how each varies in its effect on each gender.


Amato, P.R., Johnson, D.R., Booth, A., & Rogers, S.J. (2004). Continuity and change in marital quality between 1980 and 2000. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65 (1), 1-22.

Isen, A., & Stevensen, B. (2008, February). Women's education and family behavior: Trends in marriage, divorce and fertitlity. Topics in Demography and the Economy National Bureau of Economic Research, *-22.


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