Kevin Lewis

February 26, 2023

Wealth and Divorce
Alexandra Killewald, Angela Lee & Paula England
Demography, February 2023, Pages 147-171 


In the United States, wealthier couples have lower divorce risk. Wealth may stabilize marriage through its material value, especially by easing financial stress, or by providing symbolic resources, especially signaling that couples meet normative financial standards for marriage. We first show that the negative association between wealth and divorce holds net of a rich set of controls. All else being equal, having $40,000 in wealth rather than $0 is associated with as big a decline in average predicted divorce risk as having no nonmarital births versus at least one. Second, we show that the negative association between wealth and divorce risk is steepest at low positive wealth levels. Net of covariates, having $40,000 in wealth rather than $0 is associated with as big a decline in average predicted divorce risk as having $400,000 rather than $40,000. Third, we consider evidence for the symbolic perspective, which emphasizes the stabilizing role of owning visible physical assets, and the material perspective, which suggests unsecured debt heightens divorce risk. Consistent with the symbolic perspective, we find that with net worth held constant, ownership of homes and vehicles is negatively associated with divorce risk. However, more research is needed to fully adjudicate between the symbolic and material perspectives.

Marriage and Work Among Prime-Age Men
Adam Blandin, John Bailey Jones & Fang Yang
Federal Reserve Working Paper, January 2023


Married men work substantially more hours than men who have never been married, even after controlling for observables. Panel data reveal that much of this gap is attributable to an increase in work in the years leading up to marriage. Two potential explanations for this increase are: (i) men hit by positive labor market shocks are more likely to marry; and (ii) the prospect of marriage increases men's labor supply. We quantify the relative importance of these two channels using a structural life-cycle model of marriage and labor supply. Our calibration implies that marriage substantially increases male labor supply. Counterfactual simulations suggest that if men were unable to marry, prime-age male work hours would fall by 7%, and if marriage rates fell to the extent observed, men born around 1980 would work 2% fewer hours than men born

Money to marriage, or marriage to money? Examining the directionality between financial processes and marital processes among newlywed couples
Matthew Saxey et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming 


Researchers have shown that if couples manage their money in sound ways, their marriages may benefit. Scholars have also shown that the quality of a marriage may precede positive financial behaviors. Previous studies have not determined the directionality of these processes, but researchers have assumed that it flows from financial variables to marital satisfaction. Utilizing a sample of U.S. mixed-gender, newlywed dyads (N = 1220), we examined which is a stronger association: financial processes predicting marital processes or marital processes predicting financial processes. Specifically, we estimated three dyadic, structural equation models to examine cross-lagged associations between husbands' and wives' own financial behaviors and their own marital satisfaction, between husbands' and wives' own financial communication and their own marital satisfaction, and between husbands' and wives' own financial behaviors and their own financial communication across two waves of data. We found that husbands' marital satisfaction predicted rank-order change in their reports of financial communication more strongly than the reverse. Furthermore, we found that wives' financial behaviors predicted rank-order change in their reports of financial communication more strongly than the reverse. These results have implications for theory, future research, and improving the financial and marital wellbeing of U.S. mixed-gender, newlywed couples.

Do humans agree on which body odors are attractive, similar to the agreement observed when rating faces and voices? 
Megan Nicole Williams & Coren Lee Apicella
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming 


Studies of mate choice from an evolutionary perspective often begin by investigating whether individuals of one sex share similar preferences for mates. Evidence for shared preferences is often interpreted as support for the hypothesis that preferences are adaptations that have evolved to select high-quality mates. To date, the importance of body odor in human mate choice is uncertain because fundamental questions, such as whether preferences for body odor are shared, have not yet been systematically explored. Here, we asked groups of heterosexual men and women from the University of Pennsylvania to rate the attractiveness of body odors, faces, and voices of opposite-sex individuals. We used our data to produce quantitative estimates of the amount of rater agreement for each of the three modalities of attractiveness, applying a uniform methodology that facilitates cross-modality comparisons. Overall, we found evidence of agreement within all three modalities. Yet, our data also suggest a larger component of attractiveness judgments that can be attributed to personal preferences and idiosyncratic noise. Importantly, our results provide no evidence that agreement regarding odor attractiveness is substantially quantitatively different from the amount of agreement found in other modalities that have been the focus of most previous work. To the extent that evidence exists of shared preferences for faces and voices, our results reveal evidence of shared preferences for body odors.

Effects of Ginger on Disgust, Sexual Arousal, and Sexual Engagement: A Placebo-Controlled Experiment
Guangju Wen et al.
Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming 


Sexual problems are common complaints across countries and cultures, and behavioral immune system theory suggests disgust plays an essential role in sexual functioning. The current study investigated 1) if disgust induced by sexual body fluids would reduce sexual arousal, reduce the likelihood of sexual engagement, and enhance disgust toward subsequent erotic stimuli, and 2) if the administration of ginger would affect these reactions. We administered either ginger or placebo pills to a sample of 247 participants (Mage = 21.59, SD = 2.52; 122 women) and asked them to complete either behavioral approach tasks with sexual body fluids or with neutral fluids. Next, participants viewed and responded to questions concerning erotic stimuli (nude and seminude pictures of opposite-sex models). As expected, the sexual body fluids tasks induced disgust. The elevated disgust induced by sexual body fluids tasks resulted in lower sexual arousal in women, whereas ginger consumption counteracted this inhibiting effect of disgust on sexual arousal. Disgust elicited by sexual body fluids also increased disgust toward the subsequent erotic stimuli. Ginger increased sexual arousal toward the erotic stimuli in both men and women who had completed the neutral fluids tasks. Findings provide further evidence of the role of disgust in sexual problems, and, importantly, that ginger may improve the sexual function of individuals via its sexual arousal-enhancing effect.


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