Cover: Marital Histories and Economic Well-Being

Marital Histories and Economic Well-Being

Published Dec 16, 2008

by Julie Zissimopoulos, Benjamin R. Karney, Amy Rauer

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Using panel data from the Health and Retirement Study the authors analyze the impact of a lifetime of marriage events on wealth levels near retirement. They find that unmarried widowed and divorced men and remarried men with more than one past marital disruption have lower housing wealth than continuously married men and women. Both financial and housing wealth are lower for the same marital categories of women. Each year spent married increases wealth by 4 percent. Observable differences in lifetime earnings, pension and Social Security wealth are not enough to explain the large differences in wealth accumulation across marital groups.

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