Development of Divorce in Sweden 1910-2000: A county-level analysis of divorce and economic determinants

University essay from Lunds universitet/Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen

Abstract: One of the larger changes in society that affected individual’s lives during the 20th century is the increase in divorce rates that happened in almost all industrialized countries. It went from being an uncommon feature reserved for the rich to a prominent part of family-life. The increase occurred against the backdrop of economic growth and the industrialization. This study constructs a data set for the change in aggregate divorce behavior using county-level data for Sweden from 1910 to 2000 to analyze the development of marital instability. Main theory and previous research predicts a positive relationship between divorce and female labor force participation but knowledge on the long-run aggregate relationship is limited, while divorce rates relationship with other economic factors are ambiguous or unresearched in long-run. Methods of pooled OLS and fixed-effects are used, and the results indicate that the increase in female labor force participation during the 20th century is positively and significantly related to the increase in divorce rates, and that the industrialization is important in explaining the rise in divorce rates. However, the study does not include measures of values and norms that most likely are related to divorce, which means the results should be taken with caution.

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