Divorce and higher education

The social conservatives are turning out to be right about many things:

In this paper we evaluate the degree to which the adverse parental divorce effect on university education operates through deprivation of economic resources. Using one million siblings from Taiwan, we first find that parental divorce occurring at ages 13-18 led to a 10.6 percent decrease in the likelihood of university admission at age 18. We then use the same sample to estimate the effect of parental job loss occurring at the same ages, and use the job-loss effect as a benchmark to indicate the potential parental divorce effect due to family income loss. We find the job-loss effect very little. Combined, these results imply a minor role played by reduced income in driving the parental divorce effect on the child’s higher education outcome. Non-economic mechanisms, such as psychological and mental shocks, are more likely to dominate. Our further examinations show that boys and girls are equally susceptible, and younger teenagers are more vulnerable than the more mature ones, to parental divorce.

That is from a recent NBER Working Paper by Yen-Chien Chen, Elliott Fan, and Jin-Tan Liu.

Nonetheless, I suspect there is more to it than this.  I can’t speak to the circumstances of Taiwan, but on average I think of women as suffering the most from non-divorce, not men.  It is not sufficiently discussed how much the higher growth rates of earlier times might have been achieved at the expense of women, at least in the short run.  It might in some ways boost economic growth to, through discrimination, allocate more very smart women to the teaching of grade school, and to keep them in unhappy marriages, “for the sake of the children.”  And yet those outcomes are entirely unjust, and the contemporary world has decided it will not accept them.

Comments

This seems contrary to Bryan Caplan book +selfish reason to have kids+ which show multiple research that Parenting didn't affect any children.

That very well may be true. However, does this study consider the educational background of the divorcing parents vs the non-divorcing parents? If divorcing parents are significantly less-educated then that would not contradict Caplan's argument.

Maybe small variations in parenting (vacation at the beach vs going to museums, more TV vs less TV, reasonable public schools vs reasonable Catholic schools) make little difference, but that doesn't tell us much about big variations (like Dad just flat not being in the picture, or getting shipped back and forth between Mom and Dad twice a week).

Sou um visitante que incessantemente vinda em seu blog.

Qualquer vez que venho aqui me surpreendo mais e dá mas vontade de retornar.
Se puder olha meu sítio de acompanhantes, está bastante bom.

which show multiple research that Parenting didn't affect any children.

Indubitably cherry-picked. And very conveeenient.

Corina's got four kids.

I think its more along the lines of "this helicopter parent shit you people worry about really doesn't matter so chill out."

Obviously something as big as divorce is going to have an effect, even if junior ends up in a fairly similar socioeconomic state at age 40.

My early reaction was, "only 10.6%?" Ergo, 89.4% of child-victims of divorce were basically unaffected.

I would have thought the fell devastation would have hit a greater proportion than 11%.

"entered college at 18 at same rate as baseline" doesn't equal "basically unaffected"

anecdotal demonstration: I entered college before my parents divorced and graduated on time. my four brothers that lived at home when my parents divorced all entered college at 18. the oldest finished his BA in six years and the next three dropped out.

I think the real problem here is too many kids.

That's only 5, although he could have some sisters.

The falling number of children per family might go a long way towards explaining why higher education has been able to hike what it charges so high in the US.

No, Caplan never says that parenting has zero effect. He says that a certain audience of 21st century westerners exaggerates the effects of nurture and parenting style. I believe Caplan is a social conservative in many respects: advocating for marriage, against divorce, for stable families.

No one is "advocating against marriage, for divorce, against stable families."

There is not the slightest constituency for that, obviously. So you will have to do better to define social conservatism. To me that idea always seemed to be as much about maintaining retrograde relations between the sexes, races, and the non-hetero groups as any particular focus on just stable families. Being very against abortion is another marker, which I don't think Caplan shares at all.

No one is "advocating against marriage, for divorce, against stable families."

Oh, yes they are.

Par for the course. You guys invent or exaggerate bogeymen every day. That's all modern conservatism is, a bulwark against the imaginary, the infinitesimal, or the inevitable.

I read that book twice and don't remember the part that says divorce won't affect your kids. Which page is it on?

Granted, there is a persistent thread throughout the book that aims to put parents at ease about their parenting style by answering concerns about the difficulty of parenting with research that shows that children's outcomes aren't affected by parenting. Is that perhaps what you're thinking of? That seems quite a bit different than the claim that divorce won't affect children's outcomes much.

"It might in some ways boost economic growth to, through discrimination, allocate more very smart women to the teaching of grade school"

If the only way to have literacy rates is to force intelligent people to teach grade school, then i'd rather no one be able to read anything at all.

Or, we could "force" smart people to teach grade school by making the pay and working conditions appealing. Indeed, we've already done this, and as best I can tell, we have teachers who are in general pretty well qualified for what they're teaching.

"yet those outcomes are entirely unjust"
You know what? Life isn't fair. People need to learn their roles in society and just accept it. These women need to do what is best for everybody not just themselves. That is a very selfish way of living. If these women don't raise children, then mankind will become extinct. Feminism is genocide.

'Feminism is genocide'

Fig's corollary to Poe's Law?

No, mankind will just evolve a more potent desire for motherhood.

Just like pandas are.

Hannah, perhaps you should campaign to have a law passed to enable people to voluntarily enslave themselves. That way they'll no longer have control over their own reproduction and will be a valuable commodity that their owners will want to increase the number of. You could call it the Anti-Genocide Slavery Law.

+1

A marriage is a great mechanism to teach children:

Commitment, responsibility, self-sacrifice, delayed gratification, compromise, generosity, cooperation, dedication, endurance, perseverance, and love.

It's about honor.

We have taken Maslow's self-actualization too far. It's now embedded in our culture, and transferred from one generation to the next. It's a selfish pursuit.

It can be exciting and gratifying to chase after career success, recognition, and money. It can feel good.

There is another way, to find satisfaction in doing one's duty, to sacrifice our needs, really wants, in order to do the right thing for our kids, or students, or friends and neighbors.

I think the "greatest generation" and some in the 1930s cohort, like my parents generation, lived by those standards. Every subsequent generation has been a "me" generation.

Sadly, I don't see how it can improve, with each generation being taught all the wrong things by the previous generation.

I also think Tyler has gone full PC postmodern on this one, with the whole spiel about women suffering because they endured unhappy marriages and took care of kids instead of going to work. He is viewing this through his rich and satisfying career lens. Most people, including men, don't have careers. They have jobs, grueling, boring, often dirty, sometimes dangerous and not very rewarding jobs. Criminy! Look around you out in the world. Do you think all those people out there serving tacos, waiting tables, repairing your car, driving a bus, giving you technical support, stocking the shelves, managing boring businesses, etc, are having a blast? No! They do those things in order to pay the rent, to survive, to take care of their families. Are we to believe the housewife who stays home to take care of the kids is less satisfied than the husband that commutes five days a week to work as a baggage handler at the airport? ( My next door neighbor when I was a kid)

One of my son's teachers, a woman, told me she thought her mom had an easy life as a housewife and mom in the spacious middle class burbs. She had multiple kids, all of them either in school or playing outside - they didn't live in a dense city. The kids were feral, like me, and played outside or at their friends house. Mom did a few hours work each day - all those modern appliances help - and spent the rest of the day socializing with all the other suburban mom's in the hood, drinking coffee and watching soaps. She actually had lots of social capital - family, friends, and neighbors. What a hard life! Such a sacrifice!

The other presumption is that while the poor women suffered an unhappy marriage and moped around the house deprived of a stimulating career the man was out having a blast in his stimulating remunerative career. I know I am repeating myself but most men don't have exciting and interesting careers. They have jobs - boring, uncomfortable, sometimes dangerous, and often dirty jobs.

Non of my uncle's or grandfathers had interesting careers. One grandfather owned a farm. At least he was self-employed, but it wasn't glamorous and he wasn't wealthy.

Only my dad had a career, as an architect. He was also a very talented artist - painter, sculptor, photographer, and he had an amazing talent for drawing.

His departing words, as he was leaving my mom and us three kids, were "I'm an artist".

So my mom got a job, as a presser in a local drycleaner.

+1

Sorry about your dad.

There is a lot of satisfaction in self-sacrifice and giving to others, especially those you love. Unfortunately, it's hard to see it that way when our cultural elites keep telling us that selfishness is the way to go and anyone who chooses otherwise is an oppressed sucker.

Working your butt off in a grueling job to come home to a loveless marriage is hell. So is giving up your career dreams to be a homemaker in a loveless marriage.

Some people make choices in marriage and then lock it down with kids. Being a decent human means taking responsibility for those choices. Unless you have extremes of abuse or violence, you need to get an attitude adjustment and deal. Divorce is not great for most kids.

11% decrease in chance of your kids attending college in Taiwan is chump change compared to the other ways divorce messes up kids.

Divorce was pretty awesome for me. I caught my mother having sex with a man who wasn't my dad. I could never look at my cuckold dad's face ever again. He was less than a man.

"The kids were feral, like me, and played outside or at their friends house. Mom did a few hours work each day - all those modern appliances help - and spent the rest of the day socializing with all the other suburban mom's in the hood, drinking coffee and watching soaps."

Yes - quite feral. And those appliances meant plenty of leisure for children - city children anyway - as well. If it was raining, we trooped around in a pack to see which mom would let us in. A lot of times they had "just mopped." We were not overly welcome indoors anytime, with our filthy bare feet. A sound I never hear anymore, the moms calling in the children at dusk, Supper's Ready! I was bratty enough to scream back from 3 yards away, what are we haaaaving?

We aren't allowed to remember it that way but, no, it was not a bad gig for the moms at all, that mid-century window. Nearly all at home during the day, they collectively provided the neighborhood kids with total security, while having, individually, to "watch" their kids very little.

+1, that sounds like my childhood during the summer. My mom was on the PTA bowling league, President about half the years, etc. She had an abundance of free time.

Cowen lived through tye 70s divorce frenzy. How can he not realize how that possible brnefit for women came at tge expense of their children that tye divorces exposed to abuse, too early sex and addiction. Child abuse rates are 10x greater outside biological families. Divorce is women wantibg to have their cake and eat it too. With the cost paud entirely by the kids whose childhood they destroy.

The '70s divorce 'craze' didn't really result in the mass problems predicted. Crime did not increase quite the contrary.

Not interested in living in Gilead.

If your argument boils down to SUFFER OR WE'LL ALL GO EXTINCT, prepare for extinction.

The root problem is that when courts tell post-divorce men that the only remaining right they have is the "right" to pay they sometimes get an attitude.

They obviously should not be permitted to do this.

In any case, as they say, sometimes freedom is not free. Mostly we've chosen personal freedom above all, and although there are obvious personal benefits in this, elevating personal freedom above all other values is not going to be entirely cost-free.

In this era when women are scarcely expected to have much more interest in child-rearing than men, is it still the case that women seek a monopoly on custodial time with the child?

I have observed with some wistfulness the speed with which the daughter of a near relation and his ex-wife, went from being an object mutually and wholly doted-upon as their late-surprise only child - to not-very-subtly becoming - during and after the painfully-protracted divorce (which did seem to meet the criteria other commenters have suggested on this page for marital jus ad bellum), more like a chore they take in turns, never satisfied that they got a long enough break. Tossing her back and forth like a hot potato, even including the grandmother in the game. I suppose the stress of parenting by oneself accounts for some of this fatigue with one's own offspring. And money strains - I need to be working, hustling, so I can stay afloat supporting us all, I've got to provide for two households and a would-be instagram influencer, I can imagine my relation countering, if he weren't too stressed out to talk to any of us.

Of course, this ill-concealed negotiating over her, complaining about the ex-spouse being a day late to pick up, etc. - probably won't tell on a child in any way except for that 10% less-likelihood that she'll matriculate at 18 ...

The Great Goddess has spoken! Let all lesser mortals fall in line!
Seriously, Hannah, listen to yourself.
As my mother used to say, The 11th Commandment is "Mind your own business."

In other words if you go ahead with the divorce, there's a 10.6% increase in the chance your kid won't rack up into life-altering debt while failing to learn science and math from brainwashed PC faculty. Peter Thiel would be proud.

'and the contemporary world has decided it will not accept them'

Well, at least the part of the contemporary world that is mainly female. After spending several generations to earn the right to vote, or have non-discriminatory access to various financial services, thus creating what is considered the contemporary world.

How did they allow for the obvious objection that a couple divorcing could have obvious other issues that causes the divorce, and it is those issues that cause the lack of university entry?

Yup. This hidden variable problem is always an issue with these studies. They could run a study saying right-handed men tend to have richer offspring than left-handed men and the issue of hidden variables is made more clear.

+1

This was the question that occurred to me, too. If the divorce happened because mom or dad was crazy or disagreeable in some heritable way, then that could explain a lot of the variation they observed.

My impression is that children of women whose husbands left have much worse outcomes than children of widows.

I can't believe Tyler didn't address this. He's slipping.

Actually, very smart women were unlikely to ever teach grade school.
From 1964 to today, the bulk of teachers came from the 2nd to 6th decile (which is a pretty big clumping, frankly). The number of teachers coming from the very top (10th decile) did decline from 18.7 to 13.9%, which is a pretty big drop in relative terms, but shows there weren't all that many to start with. Meanwhile, the seventh and ninth deciles increased from then to now.

The average ability of teachers was very slightly lower in 2000 than in 1964, but nothing major. And it's almost certainly higher now--although the ESSA will allow states to reduce standards if they want.

Women take a huge cut in standard of living after divorce. Not sure where "being forced to stay in unhappy marriages" favored them, as opposed to men.

Yeah, Mackenzie Bezos went from a $120 billion household net worth to just $38 billion. That's really rough.

well, there you go. Stupidest rebuttal ever.

Yes, he should have smartened it up by fully explaining Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Women take a huge cut in standard of living after divorce.

According to people who use an accounting method that doesn't belong in a poker game

So, can either of you link to some data (papers, statistics from reputable source) that support your claims? I think education realist is correct (certainly being a single mom is a path to poverty and hardship), but maybe I'm wrong--this is an empirical question and the data is probably out there.

(certainly being a single mom is a path to poverty and hardship)

Not certainly, but sometimes. How did they get there? That's right, they got pregnant out of wedlock or they got divorced. And most of those divorced are so because they sued their husband contrary to his wishes.

I live in a world where, in regard to the feminine condition, quite incredible statistics are quoted (e.g. 1 in 5 women on campuses are raped, or the average housewife works 99 hours per week, or that 1/2 the divorced father don't pay any child support). Some of them originate in some scandalously incompetent study (e.g. gauging fathers' compliance with child-support orders by interviewing only divorced women) or are just made up out of whole cloth (Stephanie Coontz was not adverse to that). The datum ER is referring to is the contention that women experience a 73% decline in their real income post-divorce, a contention which was ambient 30 years ago. Which presumes either tremendous economies of scale from married-couple households or presumes general non-compliance with child-support orders post-divorce. Non ci credo.

It is true single-parent households report lower incomes than married couple households (approx 1/2), but it's not at all clear how the Census Bureau's surveyors account for child-support payments. (Since a great many single-parent households are run by people who were never married to begin with, the raw number is going to overstate the effects of divorce on the real income of the divorced mother).

Of course you omit the possibility that they divorced because their husband was a total rotten jerk, given over to one or more of three A's: Adultery, Abuse, Addiction.

If greater than 10% came from the top decile I’m afraid you completely misunderstood you own evidence.

Greater than 10% comes from the top decile today as well.

I don't think I did. The deciles refer to the overall population.

Would it be shocking to say that 30% of doctors come from the top decile?

I love a good statistic.

The confused "realist" has simply decided to double down, which makes their comment four-times more powerful!

One hundred women in the world. Ten decide to become teachers. Two of them come from the smartest ten in the world, the other eight come from the stupidest ninety. Thus 20% of the teachers come from the top decile.

Exactly right. What was missing in Educational Realist's comment was a firm description of what the deciles described- Kevin and JPM Rooney just assumed it described all female teachers when female teacher is just a small subset of a much larger population.

I thought that "the number of teachers coming from the very top" described it pretty well.

Failing that, one could assume that the average person isn't dumb enough to not recognize that a decile is by definition 10% before responding to a comment.

Can you please show where you are getting your data? It is hard to believe that someone in the 9th decile can do grade school work, much less teach it. A 9th decile person would have trouble getting a job as a garbageman.

You know what they say, Larry: those who can't do, teach.

If people in the 9th (and presumably 10th) deciles are incapable of performing even menial jobs as you suggest, that would imply at least 20% structural unemployment. Empirically false.

Thirty-six percent aren't in the labor force.

"that would imply at least 20% structural unemployment. "

He's overstating it a little. But he's correct in saying that a 10th decile person is highly unlikely to be an American teacher.

20 decile lower than IQ 88
10 decile lower than IQ 81

Cite, which is pretty commonly known:
https://faculty.smu.edu/millimet/classes/eco7321/papers/corcoran%20et%20al%2001.pdf

As for the fact that teacher quality has gone up since 2002: https://www.educationnext.org/gains-in-teacher-quality/

Generally: it's pretty clear that there weren't ever a lot of extraordinarily brilliant women in teaching, although there were more in the 60s than today. However, the mean ability of teachers has remained roughly the same. While bright women had more options, bright men had fewer, and they moved into teaching.

Also, I'm just using decile as the paper did.

Men have more power than women today and are more likely to subjugate women. But that’s being changed by people who see that it’s wrong. That’s an important part of the context here right?

Whatever you say, bud.

A few men have a great deal of power over everybody - CEOs, POTUS, governor's, mayors, etc.

With our obsession with credentialing, women are doing very well, as women tend to do very well in school. Look at the college numbers - # of BAs, MAs, and PhDs. Women seem to be well represented as professional employees in local governments, schools, university employees (not professors), managers, etc. I have read the info on the graduating classes from our local high schools ( more than seven) and the community college. Based on that, women are doing very well as valedictorians, etc and college scholarships.

I recently attended a series of workshops/presentations on local watershed issues. Water is a big deal in California. Every presenter was a government employee scientist with a PhD and every one of them was a young woman. There was only one male presenter and he wasn't a government employee. His presentation was on sport fishing.

Women are doing well, young women especially.

Credentialing has a disparate impact on men.

Women are hardly the only ones who endure unhappy marriages for the sake of their children. Responsible men do it too. And the psychological and social well-being of children matter just as much as the economic effects. Communitarians have the better argument here.

I am with Anon7 on this. But I don't think it has anything to do with communitarianism. There is nothing libertarian about breaking our promises. And by bringing a child into the world, one has made a promise to support them, physically, morally and financially, even at the sacrifice of one's own happiness. If keeping such a promise will be too burdensome, then don't have children. Is that really in question?

Shocking news: Men exhibit higher marginal propensity to be unfaithful, i.e. break their vows, than women. In other news, real men do not hit women.

Men exhibit higher marginal propensity to be unfaithful, i.e. break their vows,

No, men who are already married have a higher propensity than women who are already married, not women in general. (I suspect if you examined the behavior of married women under 32 or thereabouts as compared to married men under 32, you'd not find that 'higher propensity' among husbands, or not much of one).

You write:

“No, men who are already married have a higher propensity than women who are already married, not women in general. ”

So...infidelity. If they’re not married...

Communitarians have no argument here. This is outside their (worthless) worldview.

Though my parent's divorce didn't exactly ruin my life, it did enormously impact it in a negative way. I ended up in a much worse college than I could have/should have, married to a leech and with a ton of debt instead of the scholarship I should have had. My parents divorced when I was 15 and the it devestated me. If they had stayed together for my sake even a few more years my life would have been much better off.

"my life would have been much better off"

you could just say

"my life would have been much better".

No need for the "off".

What are you? Some sort of grammar Stasi?

And been available to append to "fuck"

oh come on you guys, it was funny

Or perhaps you might have triumphed because of those challenges? At some point in adulthood one has to take responsibility for one's own life and stop blaming others.

Since social conservatives care so much about divorce, what ideas have they rallied behind to keep families together? Too often the debate gets steered toward abortion, gays, and drugs, which can be lightning rod issues but they are also fairly niche and only tangentially related to the majority of family concerns.

In today's WSJ, they talk about how the current generation of young families cannot afford housing even with two incomes and have to settle for renting. Money is the number one cause of divorce so what policies are in the works to take care of a family's single most important expense? This isn't a niche issue. How the roof is raised over your head determines your family's lot and your children's lot in life. Notice that after the Wall Street crash, America no longer speaks of being an ownership society.

In another post on MR earlier in the day, people were very pro-NIMBY yet a refusal to build is a clear and hostile signal that the previous generation of families has pulled up the ladder on the next generation of families. Perhaps the worst enemy of families are other families. So we are not only turning our back on foreign immigrants but also on our own citizens and families. This contrasts with the week before where a post was made on MR saying that big business hates families because they are staffed heavily at the top with childless high achievers. What is the real story here? Not sure but the common theme seems to be that America's heart has become small and is shrinking fast.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/financial-crisis-yields-a-generation-of-renters-11564228800

In other words, we are creating jobs that will never lead to home ownership. Labor that can never convert to capital will create a large segment of the population who think the game is rigged. This does not a stable society make.

It doesn't get a lot of political coverage, but there are church-related organizations whose goal is to help strengthen marriages (Marriage Encounter is one I know a bit about). The Catholic church also requires pre-marital counseling (in the US, anyway) and at our parish, I've seen announcements for lectures/classes on improving your marriage. AA and Al-Anon have a lot of members who are trying to save their marriages from one or both spouses' addiction to alcohol.

In general, most good things people are doing are almost invisible, because it's only news if something went wrong.

"Since social conservatives care so much about divorce, what ideas have they rallied behind to keep families together?"

The big idea is to not get divorced.

To elaborate for the benefit of WM and others who don't get it, the big idea is to reinstate a culture where marriage is considered a lifelong commitment to produce and raise a family, a decision that requires by necessity not just much reflection on the concept and the suitability of one's potential spouse but also an acknowledgement that personal sacrifices are required to make it work, instead of it just being a thing that two lovebirds do when they want to get tax benefits by playing house.

So divorcing if you don't want / cannot have children is OK?

I have seen a number of divorces around and If I'm overtly generous, maybe one third could fit into your narrative. It could differ country by country, but it seems to me you are projecting your ideas how others should behave without checking, what they really do.

I'm not really sure what the point is of getting married if you don't want or can't have children, especially in today's world where we are reminded constantly by our cultural overlords how awesome and empowering the single life is, at least until it's too late to change your mind.

Of course, some people don't realize they can't have kids until after they get married (although many would be better off getting this checked out before they seriously thought about marriage). In that case the point to remember is that the institution still exists for the purposes of creating and maintaining a family even if you exist outside that paradigm. This goes for gay marriage as well although obviously homosexuals who marry are doing it for other reasons.

In any case what people "really do" is the entire point, marriage has been corrupted by the state precisely to keep the masses from thinking too much about its genuine purpose.

"I'm not really sure what the point is of getting married if you don't want or can't have children"

Then you really need to STFU. People get married to be happy, period. Children are not only not needed but actually counter-productive ITR.

"we are reminded constantly by our cultural overlords how awesome and empowering the single life is"

It's the simple truth.

Oh right, I forgot about the mantra of the r-selected: you can do anything you want as long as it makes you happy.

If you hate freedom, just say so. If you hate the pursuit of happiness, then deport yourself.

As another poster said, we've taken Maslow's self-actualization too far. I hate to be one of those people who pontificate on what the Founding Fathers would think about such-and-such, but I'm pretty sure they would not appreciate a bunch of navel-gazers running the society they built into the ground.

There's more to happiness than chasing your next dopamine release and the fact that we as a society are more depressed than ever should make this pretty obvious. Of course the aforementioned cultural overlords are more than happy to keep you believing that there's nothing more to life than your masturbatory pursuits (speaking both literally and metaphorically), that's how they sell Netflix subscriptions and SSRIs. Not to mention how they replace you with more compliant immigrants when your bloodline dies out.

"I'm not really sure what the point is of getting married if you don't want or can't have children"

"homosexuals who marry are doing it for other reasons"

Between those two sentences, you clearly know the point.

So the point is to make enough of a mockery of the institution to dilute all its meaning?

Childless marriages make a mockery of marriage? Hyperbole is a bit much.

Was thinking more about gay marriage but yes, the prevalence of dogmoms is not helping anything.

This makes absolutely no sense. It’s walls of text for..emoting?

It’s cheaper to be married than to be divorced.

Your incentives run exactly the wrong way. If people are cash strapped, they would be staying together more.

Sometimes one parent has a spending problem, or a drug problem, or is a lazy shiftless bum

Sure, all of those happen.

It’s also entirely irrelevant to both WM’s comment and my response to it.

Yet people continue to divorce over money. Blue collar divorce rates are higher than white collar. Same with lower/higher socioeconomic status. I don't think being poor is such a great way to build stronger marriages as you think it is.

I think you entirely misunderstand the concept of incentives. I also think you misunderstand the idea of thinking on the margin. And the concept of ANOVA, regression analysis, least squares...

But this is an insightful comment, nonetheless. This is the level of thinking the median voter brings to the table. Every do-gooder academic should realize this is the level of analysis that people will bring to the table.

You're making a fantastic argument for econometrics knowledge being a necessity for voting rights.

Yeah, Hmmm lives in a different world. People divorce over money, period. Shocking news to some apparently. The more he denies this the dumber he looks. Look at him use "econometrics" and "ANOVA" to dig himself into a bigger hole. Divorce don't care about your "least squares."

Well for one religion. It has about quadruple the impact of money on marriage longevity. Like so many other things in life, a first order approximation is that encouraging more religious praxis would do more than any other possibility.

Other fun things would include discouraging premarital sex, discouraging premarital childbearing, and encouraging post-marital childbearing. All of these are more heavily correlated with marriage longevity than income.

Living in low density housing is also correlated with more successful marriages (dense urban living has a low divorce rate only from marriages that never occur in the first place, looking at marriage longevity shows us that density is marriage destructive risk factor). Living near extended family also correlates with longer marriage longevity.

Things we know that correlate with shorter marriage longevity include moving for a job, abandoning your religious faith, being separated from your spouse (e.g. attending different grad programs).

Oh, and on the money front, any guesses as to what happens to income if you follow the conservative life script - work any job you can (including minimum wage), get married, and then have kids? Yeah, income rises.

Frankly if you want people to earn more money your best bet is to frankly encourage marriage. If you want people to stay married the gains from earning more money are pretty weak from prospective analysis.

75% of all divorces are filed by women. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Why are women leaving their marriages? While I agree with some of what you are saying they almost always cite money, infidelity, constant arguing. Very few cite religion, housing density, or premarital sex. This isn't to say that women are necessarily the problem but since the numbers are so lopsided it is worth a deeper look at least from their view why they give up.

What they cite is irrelevant.

What is important is the actual data. Sure is 100% right here, but I disagree with him regarding the conclusions. We know that women with more than X partners have a Y% greater chance of divorce. We know that couples that attend religious services once a week have a Z% less chance of divorce. Etc etc.

The liberal or libertarian says okay, that's fine. The fundamental right to choose one's life decisions outweighs any impact on third parties (children, society). And the negative externalities that everyone incurs is less consequential than limiting freedom of choice.

The right answer is to support freedom of choice and let the chips fall where they may.

The fundamental right to choose one's life decisions ends the moment I have to start paying for it. Getting divorced is major cause of Medicaid enrollment and every other social service (I literally refer some one newly divorced to social services for these purposes most weeks). Similarly, if you choose to have sex that could lead to a child, you are responsible for its upkeep. If you buy or otherwise acquire a pet you are assuming responsibility for its costs.

Being an adult comes with responsibilities and if you want freedom of choice, don't make me pay for it. Otherwise you are merely impinging upon my freedom of choice to satiate your own.

Regardless, even with complete autonomy, it still behooves us to actually educate people so they can make an informed choice. When I quote the actual data to medical students (odds ratios, likelihood coefficients, etc.) they pretty much all are shocked. None of these highly educated young adults seems to know how these things actually work.

Every teenager should the basic data about the outcomes you can expect from certain life choices: going to college without finishing is worse for your lifetime income than skipping out for a trade, getting divorced will at best consume several years of savings, having premarital sex or worse premarital child bearing will increase your odds of divorce ... far too many young people are completely ignorant because they are being implicitly lied to. I mean seriously, how many people believe that it is better for their relationships longevity to have premarital sex? Of those how many think cohabitation improves marital outcomes? Making your own informed choice requires that you at least know the likely impacts on your outcomes before making the choice.

So no, we should at least be teaching people the data instead of just letting them blindly cause substantial losses in their lives.

Yeah and when I ask people if they have any idea why they had their heart attack the number one answer I get is that they were exercising immediately prior. Never do I hear about things that are well established risk factors - smoking, sedentary lifestyle, chronic hypercholesterolemia, chronic hypertension, or the many other things that have extremely high odds ratios. It is not even all that common that hear about family history of CAD or the like during the open ended questions.

As with most major catastrophes in life, the proximate cause is basically useless to go after. You divorced because she won't stop nagging? If she did would that save the marriage? Does anyone actually like nagging that much? Or would this marriage find some other fault on which to cleave?

Or maybe you want him to stop drinking? Exactly why does he drink again? Because he lives in an expensive city with poor job prospects and little social support ... you don't say.

Truth is that the statistical data we have saying that religious praxis is marriage protective is of better quality than the evidence we had saying not smoking prevents lung cancer in the 60s and at least most of the 70s.

Same with premarital sex and unbelievably true with premarital childbearing. The fissures that develop in a marriage are rarely single issue and even more rarely unilateral. Much more commonly it is an entire ecology of different problems, not one of which is strong enough to break a marriage, but the sum of which are or appear to be overwhelming.

Money is a risk factor for divorce, it is just a small one. Doubling your income has a smaller correlation than simple things like having good marriage role models or having regular sex. All of those are smaller than religion and the other biggies.

"Well for one religion"
Have you ever heard of "Eat, Pray, Love"? Those types are the biggest cheaters. Never completely buy into the shiny halo act.

If you want to convince me that hanging on to a crappy marriage for the sake of the kids actually helps those kids, then cite me a study that's actually about parents who do it. I've never seen one. All I ever see are studies where outcomes for divorced families are compared to those for intact families.

I strongly suspect that whatever causes kids to do worse in their life trajectories is the same thing that caused their parents to divorce. If those parents somehow refused to divorce out of some misplaced sense of duty, it might actually make things worse for the kids who have to live in their house. We won't know until somebody collects a sample of miserable parents who remain together only because they think their kids will benefit, and compares it to a sample of relevantly similar parents who just go through with the divorce.

Exactly this research has been done, time and again. Barring physical abuse, kids are better off in marriages where miserable parents stay together.

If you want to convince me that hanging on to a crappy marriage

A person in a crappy marriage is unlikely to improve the situation by dumping the current spouse and acquiring a new one for two reasons: (1) there's one consistent element in all of that person's dissatisfying relationships and (2) the person they're lashed to was the best deal they could get at the time. (Of course, a deficit of self-understanding may be one reason their marriage is so dissatisfying). The divorce courts are chock-a-block with idiots who fancy they can trade-up.

This seems like a good time to bring up the statistic that nearly 70% of all divorces are initiated by the wife.

Last I checked (a good while ago, haven't studied the subject in 20 years), the plaintiff was the wife about 60% of the time, the husband about 30%. In the other 10% there was some sort of joint filing. When children are present, the ratios are something like 66%, 25%, and 9%.
If I understand correctly (I may be wrong), these ratios have been an abiding feature of the divorce culture over time and they also abide over the life cycle. As people age, their propensity to file declines, but the propensity of husbands and wives declines pari passu.

A wag suggests that this is because men are motivated by their desires ("I want this, therefore I will do that") and women by their aversions ("I don't want this, therefore I will do that").

There's clearly a range of different situations in a troubled marriage. Some marriages are so broken and awful that divorce is the only way forward. A lot of those ended in divorce even when divorce was hard to get and socially unacceptable. Others are so functional and happy that nobody would consider divorce, no matter how easy or socially acceptable it became.

Then there's a middle range of marriages where there are problems, or where one of the spouses is bored or tempted by someone else. Some of those marriages survive their problems and eventually the husband and wife are thankful that they got through it and stayed together; others break up. My guess is that:

a. There's a substantial impact of social pressure and also of legal requirements for divorce on those troubled-but-not-doomed marriages.

b. Many of the people in those marriages would actually benefit from finding a way to save the marriage.

c. Any kids caught in the middle of that marriage would almost certainly benefit from finding a way to save the marriage.

Thread winner

"And yet those outcomes are entirely unjust, and the contemporary world has decided it will not accept them."

No, the contemporary world hasn't decided that. The contemporary world is dying out. If it has decided anything, it's decided to commit suicide.

Conservatives don't turn to be right. If divorce was illegal, good and bad homes just cannot be statistically separated.

It's the media's fault. They seek to destroy traditional marriage between a man and a woman while celebrating homosexual unions and single moms. This is why the American family is under siege in today's world.

This is why "Homosexuals Doing Single Moms" is America's number one sitcom.

But Conner, the media wasn't the institution that passed laws legalizing gay marriage, creating no-fault divorce, and providing plenty of welfare benefits for single mothers. That was the state.

The state answers to the media. (So, increasingly, do religions).

Policy often is downstream from pearl-clutching "news" reports, from an increasingly feminized media.

Don't forget poly. The upscale media has been beating the drums for poly as well these past few years.

Let's see, in US Hollywood destroys marriages, and promotes homosexuality and single parents. Also in US no matter what advertisers or the fast food and processed food industries do, if you get fat it's your own damn fault.

Suck it up. If the American family can't survive a more open world then it deserves to die and should.

Justin Wolfers (who teaches economics at Michigan) has a column in today's NYT about his new approach to teaching introductory economics that fits perfectly with this blog post. If couples approached divorce like an economist, they might make better choices (i.e., the choice that produces the best outcome for all concerned). That is essentially what Cowen is saying in this blog post. Of course, the choice that produces the best outcome for all concerned means one individual (the wife, perhaps) might be worse off while another individual (the child, perhaps) might be better off. The best choices is the choice that produces the most utility (to use an economic term). Skeptics might view Wolfers' new approach as an example of "economics creep", as the dismal science (Wolfers begs to differ) makes its way into the most personal decisions one makes in life. In family law, issues regarding child custody are supposedly based on the best interest of the child. But is that true if the judge considers only the child and ignores the parents. Maximizing the utility of the child may have adverse consequences to the child. Instead, shouldn't the judge consider what's in the best interest of all concerned and make the choice that maximizes the utility of all of them because that's what will be in the best interest of the child. (I'm not a family lawyer, I'm just using it as an example since that's the subject of this blog post). Read Wolfers' article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/26/business/economics-useful-superpower-education.html

"Maximizing the utility of the child may have adverse consequences to the child."

This can't possibly be true, though TRYING to maximize the utility of the child may not in fact bring about the best outcomes for them.

It just depends on your discount rate. If set wrong, heroin is a wonderful utility maximizer, yet can have obvious adverse effects.

Tyler: I can’t speak to the circumstances of Taiwan, but on average I think of women as suffering the most from non-divorce, not men.

On the assumption that men are more likely to be violent, aggressive or domineering, and women more shrewish, critical, morose, depressed, vulnerable, whiny, I think this is probably arguable (since the former is probably a more serious source of life suffering).

On the other hand, men tend to remarry more often after divorce, and more often with a "younger model".

So in terms of "lost benefits", men may be seen as "suffering" (relative to what they could have) more from non-divorce. Of course, this also means that younger men tend to lose out more from divorce relative to older men, so this is just redistribution within the set of men.

Some further discussion - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5992251/ - "Gender Differences in the Consequences of Divorce: A Study of Multiple Outcomes" -

"First, men were more vulnerable to short-term consequences of divorce for subjective measures of well-being, but postdivorce adaptation alleviated gender differences in these outcomes. Second, a medium-term view on multiple outcomes showed more similarity than differences between women and men. The medium-term consequences of divorce were similar in terms of subjective economic well-being; mental health, physical health, and psychological well-being; residential moves, homeownership, and satisfaction with housework; and chances of repartnering, social integration with friends and relatives, and feelings of loneliness. Third, the key domain in which large and persistent gender differences emerged were women’s disproportionate losses in household income and associated increases in their risk of poverty and single parenting. Taken together, these findings suggest that men’s disproportionate strain of divorce is transient, whereas women’s is chronic."

That may seem surprising given MSM presentation, but of course, there is some bias here where our relatively female achievement boosting and generally pro-female MSM culture tends to present divorce as successful career oriented women getting rid of "loser men" or "crap partners". But that's not representative of reality for most social classes.

TBH I think this also needs to be looked at by State because of the differences in family law and judicial norms as well as income parity. I think you will tend to find in cases where the income is equal and kids are involved especially in liberal states, men come out worse even long term in almost all cases.

Men tend to marry women younger than themselves anyway so the fact they are doing so on a second or third marriage is hardly shocking. Also the older you get the less an age gap of a few years really matters. An 18 year old with a 25 year old is significant age difference. A 55 year old with a 48 year old is less so.

What makes these marriages "unhappy"? Do those factors justify divorce?

I've read credible research that 1/3 of divorces are due to real problems and in those cases children actually aren't effected negatively by divorce.

But 2/3rd are based on sort of Eat, Pray, Love ennui. In those cases divorce does have a very negative effect on the children.

It's also unclear that divorce always leads to higher female happiness (let alone joy). Especially in those 2/3rds of cases, it tends to turn out that the net benefits of divorce are over-rated relative to the actual reality.

And of course the higher up the socioeconomic scale you go, the less of the 1/3 (he hits me) and the more of the 2/3 (ennui) you tend to find.

Elizabeth Gilbert ended up with a fellow who needed a green card. He was shorter than she was and bald. They later divorced.

#winning

Reading her Wikipedia page leads me to believe she has serious issues.

Maybe weird, broken people write great books ... I dunno, maybe stable, secure people are boring.

That is absolutely right, stable and secure is boring...to others. That doesn't make it wrong, or bad, just means stable secure people are rarely great artists.

Just from my own experience with people I know about half the divorces were due to the three A's (adultery, addiction, abuse). A major fraction of the rest involved people who married too young, sometimes right out of high school, but almost all of these were childless marriages so the question of child welfare does not matter. I've known exactly one divorce that could be said to be due to "ennui". (The wife wished to resume an active social life and travel once the kids were grown; the husband thought sitting around watching TV was a fun life- they had aged at very different rates.)

Women should suffer for you. What's small steps toward a much better world about that kind of belief?

Parents should sometimes be willing to make sacrifices for their kids, perhaps including staying married till their kids grown. They have to balance their willingness to sacrifice for their kids with their own needs--sometimes that means taking care of their own needs ahead of the kids' needs, sometimes the other way around.

This comes up in divorce, but also in all other areas of life--lots of men and women have taken less-fun jobs to be better providers, or bailed out of their chosen career to raise kids for a decade or two, or decided not to move to a better job because they didn't want to uproot their kids, or decided to drive an old Honda into the ground rather than buying a new Tesla every few years because they want to save some money for their kids' college. And so on.

"It is not sufficiently discussed how much the higher growth rates of earlier times might have been achieved at the expense of women, at least in the short run."

Is there any reason to believe women are much happier now than they were fifty years ago? As far as I know, the available evidence points the other way: https://www.nber.org/papers/w14969

"The social conservatives are turning out to be right about many things"

Social conservatives stopped caring about divorce a long time ago. If they criticize divorce they risk criticizing too many of their own. Besides, they would rather focus on gays and trans people. Much more icky stuff.

As pointed out by others, this study does show that divorce has harmful effects, but it does not compare it to the alternative of forcing an unhappy, perhaps abusive couple to stay together. That would be an impossible study to do in the US. Might be able to do it someplace where you could force couples to stay together who want to divorce and make it into a random study, but who would agree to two that?

Steve

Where is China when we need them to use their lack of civil liberties to perform some social science and economics experiments with proper control groups?

1975 was not a particularly good year for "family values", so there's only so much you can conclude from the decline in subjective well-being for women since then, but I think you have to admit that it weakens the case for gender egalitarianism to some extent.

'but I think you have to admit that it weakens the case for gender egalitarianism to some extent'

And we don't even need to ask women about it to accept that at face value, do we?

I'd argue that it isn't the contemporary world that won't accept them, but a very tiny sliver of upper-middle class women. That sliver, granted more privilege, authentic freedom and respect by society than almost any other ever, unsurprisingly demanded more and blew-up the entire society. Putting most of their lower class sisters into drudge work and putting the one thing they really desired (motherhood) often out of reach, just so they might compete, usually poorly, for one of the top slots in the contemporary world.

I suspect if you looked at the data you'd discover that women of the professional-managerial stratum were less likely than others to initiate divorce suits in 1966, 1979, 2000, and today.

Both men and women may be members of homo sapiens but they are not of the same biological group. The idea that they are somehow equal is preposterous and the acceptance of that idea has caused enormous problems that will worsen until it is rejected.

Comparing divorce vs. job-loss is an interesting comparison but incomplete, in my view. If Judith Rich Harris is right that peers making the largest contribution of the environmental factors (vs genes), then parents can have a large impact by influencing peers, and they can influence peers by the neighbourhood they live in.

Divorce forces people to move apart. I'd be convinced of the two-parent influence if the study included the impact of the post-divorce neighbourhood/school.

"And yet those outcomes are entirely unjust"
Entirely? Why is it unjust to place obligations on parents (keeping unhappy marriages intact) for the benefit of children they chose to bring into the world?

Hey! Their body, their choice!

Enslavement ie forced sacrifice is evil, even if it's for children. Beyond preventing outright neglect that is.

Seems like the economists ignore the role of the judiciary. I had a judge tell me that the parents did not "owe" a college education to their children. Seems a bit short sighted in 2019 that one of two ivy league divorced parents would follow that logic but one did. The courts are pretty messed up now - check into it.

I could not begin to say whether the Taiwanese data here have too much, enough, or not enough explanatory power for the US context.

Since TC is pleased to've framed the issue here with this study, though, I reply that he nowhere says one word about the "religious aspect" of marriages undertaken today, as if the entire history and experience of marriages conceived and performed under the aspect of traditional monotheistic faith means nothing or less than nothing today, or as if traditional religious belief can only entail extreme disaffection for adherents of other traditional religions.

If Mammonism (itself an old and venerable faith, its eternal truths minted and printed in obverse and reverse for millennia) has become the default religion for a culture that emerged from but has since fully shed its heritage of catholic Christianism, what proper status should (can?) "marriage" enjoy?

In the context of Mammonism, why even resort to marriage as a civil institution? "Science" is its very own religious institution, too, and nowadays science has much more say concerning human reproduction than humans are permitted to have (note how avidly scientific "experts" today ape the fiat powers of former Popes).

By TC's reckoning we should perhaps devise a "science lottery" to pair men's sperm and women's eggs while everyone's busy at work or exhausted once they get home: "human sexual reproduction" MUST BE highly overvalued by our corrupt and corrupting Media Establishment when Holy Science is assuring us that all human reproduction of any consequence can take place safely in the maternal warmth of Petri dishes and test-tubes.

Seems like you'd have to compare the divorced group to the group that had a bad marriage and considered divorce but decided against it for this to mean anything.

Let's have a working definition of 'bad marriage'.

University attendance at 18? Really? Who gives a s**t?

Divorce, and all this focus on childhood. It reminds me of the strange notion, so often explored in the media, that the desirability of parenthood turns largely on happiness, reduced options, money, etc. during the all-too-brief years when your children are small.

I can hardly be the only one on the forum who as a child feared the idea of divorce when it first became known to me, and then at some point began to entertain the idea that it would be an improvement ... all *this* would be over. And I do think that life with a perpetually hair-triggered-raging, self-medicating-with-alcohol parent [who - but only with the promise of benders like clockwork keeping him going - could just meet the bar of coping with a job (he left a career as an engineer to become, essentially, a professional gambler which at least in the early 70s was what being a stockbroker was, and a profession that corresponded well to his being bipolar at the very least) and of being mostly neutral to strangers, even considered jocose, popular, with friends, who got the best he had ... but could give no quarter at home, to his wife and kids, never has, never will, there's just nothing left in the tank is the way I choose to see it: hell, maybe he's a hero given the genetic hand he was dealt] - yeah, I think this messed me up, sure. I could not really have friends over, for instance. He hated teenage boys - reminded him of himself, perhaps - and so my brothers more or less took off as soon as adolescence hit, and I lost them. I never saw how normal people handle problems. His coming home at night was feared; on those occasions that he pulled in the driveway late at night and merely fell asleep in the car, there was relief; blah, blah, blah.

But ... childhood soon ends and it has been on the whole easier for me that my mother was not capable enough to manage by herself (note I didn't say "not strong enough," because I must give her her due as well, she has a kind of strength few of us would be able to summon), and so they are still married these many decades later, and age has eased things a bit.

And, priceless: THEY TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER. They are solvent. They live independently - because together still. They have a ton of friends: Mother has not had to face the prospect, so unimaginable to a belle of the fifties, of socializing as a faded old woman alone.

It's no slam-dunk, but I think we kids came out ahead.

Thanks again, peri. Your stuff is so good.

It is conventional wisdom that women should not stay in "unhappy" marriages, but those who stick it out often find that the unhappiness was temporary or fixable (not talking about when men beat their wives). Those women who did divorce often find that they are NOT happier.

Divorce isn't and never really has been the real growing problem. The real problem is that, increasingly, women are having children without having married anyone at all.

I think that phenomenon hit a plateau about 10 years ago.

The attrition rate of marriages hit a peak around 1979 and has declined some since then, so you can expect that perhaps 40% of all marriages contracted will end in divorce.

What's interesting is the decline in marriage rates since 2000. The propensity of people to marry has fallen by about 1/4, and you can surmise that about 30% of those born after 1975 will never marry.

And, of course, there's been the decline in birth rates and the total fertility rate in the last dozen years. Most distressing.

It's really not distressing at all. Marriage is arguably an outdated institution that causes far more problems that it solves. Children make their parents less happy. These changes will likely enhance the human experience.

Where have all the libertarians gone?
Long time passing,
Where have all the libertarians gone?
When divorce is the discussion,
Gone to advocate tax cuts each and every one,

It's about what they earn,
It's about what they earn...

Where have all the libertarians gone?

Which ones? The ones who don't give a rip about anything but the drug laws, or the ones who busy themselves with twee diversions (charter cities, Coasean this and Coasean that) because taking stances on consequential questions is status lowering, or the autistics who want open borders, or the neoconfederates in a fury about 'fiat money' and Lincoln's seizure of the slaves?

The ones who got tired of all that.

Charter cities are hardly inconsequential. They are a BFD far more so than divorce.

Why is Tyler sucking up to the knuckle-dragging know-nothings so much as late? No SoCons have never gotten anything right. They've been wrong on gay marriage, MJ legalization, porn, and everything else.

This study doesn't demonstrate much. The divorce could be causing that result, or they could have the same thing causing them both. In any event, the divorce 'craze' of the '70s did not end the world.

If divorce weren't bad for children, why did the institution of marriage with all its restrictions develop and spread in the first place?

Social conservatives are right about a lot of things in the way that learning from history makes you right about a lot of things.

There is something philosophically broken about progressive attitudes towards social conservatives.

"If slavery is so wrong, why did it develop and spread in the first place?"

See the flaw in Chesterton's fence style arguments?

Sigh. That is truly baffling logic.

I said nothing about morality, e.g., 'wrong' or 'right.' Things develop and spread because they instill some benefit, regardless of their morality. The question then becomes - what is the benefit. The institution of marriage developed because it was of benefit. The direct beneficiaries are the children, and the indirect beneficiaries are the societies which arise through the creation of non-feral adults.

Also, the Chesterton's fence analogy is incorrect. I am not saying that there is some hidden reason that waits to be discovered. I am saying that there is a very obvious reason that is right in front of everyone who cares to look.

But divorce is nothing new. The ability to terminate a marriage has existed since antiquity and probably a lot longer. Even in Western Christendom the back door of annulment existed. Not every marriage is successful. That's just the reality of life, just as businesses fail and some people die too young.

Confounded by genetics. How do teens who have a single parent die perform?

That will tell us if it's environmental (money & stress) or parents with low time preference.

http://www.unz.com/gnxp/why-marriage-fatherhood-might-not-matter-as-much-as-you-think/

people.uncw.edu/kozloffm/fatherabsence.docx

"Dividing the children of the NSFH into four groups – those with no family disruption, those who lost a parent to death, those whose parents divorced, and those born to never-married mothers – we find significant differences in educational outcomes. Those whose mothers divorced or never married clearly suffer the most negative effects. (...) The dropout risk is 37 percent for those with never-married mothers and 31 percent for those with divorced parents, in contrast with the 13 percent risk of those from families with no disruption. Significantly, the risk for children who lost a parent to death is 15 percent, virtually the same as that for children from intact homes. "

As someone whose mother died from cancer when I was 9, I find the claim that kids take sonmething like that as no big deal is so wrong that it disproves the figures entirely. Losing a parent at a young (but aware) age is a thermonuclear detonation in one's life.

Social conservatives are right? Liberals have significantly lower rates of divorce. Quit trolling us, Tyler.

Why should college entry by age 18 be a standard of concern? I didn't start college until I was almost 21. I'm very glad to this day that I had over two years between high school and college to grow up some, work at a job, and burn off some teenage craziness before I had to get down to seriousness.

It might in some ways boost economic growth to, through discrimination, allocate more very smart women to the teaching of grade school, and to keep them in unhappy marriages, “for the sake of the children.”
1) Society can only have one "standard" - women are primarily mothers, or they are primarily workers (wage slaves). Men are already primarily wage slave, rat race workers, and only secondarily fathers.
2) Whatever standard society has, there will be many women who would be happier with the other standard, whether there is an 80-20, 50-50, or 20-80 split. If the standard for women is "worker (wage slave)", there are many women who would be happier as mothers. If the standard is "mother", including those who secondarily teach grade school, there will be many who would be happier as workers.

More over 60 women today wish they had more children and spent more time mothering than wish they had spent more time working on their careers.

Society is certainly better off with more women wanting to primarily be mothers, raising children.

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