Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Women profit from divorce

John sends this Wash. Times story, and compares it to the widely discredited Lenore Weitzman research.
Women 'worse off' when couples part...

But nearly 30 percent of girlfriends and nearly 38 percent of wives lived in poverty after their relationships failed. The researchers said both wives and girlfriends tend to have lower incomes than their partners and when couples separate, women have less to live on.
Moreover, wives and girlfriends are more likely to have custody of the children, which means more mouths to feed with less income.
Without even looking at the study, I have several problems with it. First, it is based on 20-year-old data, so it does not reflect the high spousal and child support formulas that the states have adopted since then.

Second, the notion that women are "worse off" would not follow from such a study. Suppose a gold digging woman moves in with rich man, or marries. Later, she regrets it, and leaves him. Her income will drop when she leaves him, but she would undoubtedly say that she is better off without him, not worse off.

Studies have shown again and again that it is usually the woman who terminates a marriage or other romantic relationship, and that women consistently make choices that make them better off with less income. Eg, see Warren Farrell's recent book, Why Men Earn More.

Third, it suggests that women are worse off for having to take the kids. In fact, wives usually demand those kids and take them over their husbands' objections. They are taking the kids because they want the kids and they believe that they will be better off with the kids. Furthermore, under current child support formulas, women usually make a profit on the kids. They receive child support that is over and above what it actually costs to raise the kids, and the moms are allowed to spend the child support money on themselves.

So this study is surely just feminist propaganda.

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