Justin Wolfers on Divorce
By Arnold Kling
Guest-blogging at Marginal Revolution, Wolfers writes,
When the latest divorce numbers came out last week, they once again confirm this quarter-century long decline in divorce, but the media (including the Times, Post, and the Inquirer) chose instead to write (incorrectly) about rising divorce. (In their defense, the data were presented in a way that invited misinterpretation, a subject that I shall return to in a future post.)
Why the persistence of the Divorce Myth?
I wonder what he thinks of Kay Hymowitz’s view, which is that divorce is dropping among the college-educated, but remaining high or rising for those with less education.
I think that one of the explanations for the problem is poor statistical reasoning on the part of many people, including those who report the divorce numbers. I suspect that poor statistical reasoning may also be behind the “fact” that the U.S. does relatively poorly in international longevity comparisons. As with the divorce numbers, the challenge is that we do not know the whole story for the most recent cohorts. We do not know how many couples married in 1990 have (will) stayed married for 25 years. Similarly, we do not know how much the longevity of people born in 1970 has increased relative to that of people born in 1930. Maybe Wolfers will undertake a rigorous analysis of the latter issue.