Vanity Economics
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Vanity Economics

An Economic Exploration of Sex, Marriage and Family

C. Simon Fan

This book presents an accessible and sometimes controversial economic exploration of numerous issues surrounding sex, marriage and family. It analyzes the role of ‘vanity’, defined as social status and self-esteem, in social and economic behaviors.
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Chapter 21: Development and divorce

C. Simon Fan


An online search of 'the main causes of divorce' produces keyword results such as 'infidelity', 'physical abuse', 'emotional abuse' and 'incompatible personalities'. For example, an online search for 'valid reasons to divorce' reveals the following typical results: Physical or Emotional Abuse: If they hit you once it will happen again. You should not stay in a marriage beyond that first punch, slap or shove. DO NOT make excuses for someone who hits you, DO NOT take the blame for someone hitting you. Violence is about a need to control and exert power over a spouse, it is not about loving a spouse. Domestic abuse comes in different forms. Your spouse may physically abuse you or emotionally abuse you. Yelling, screaming, name calling and put-downs are not acceptable forms of behavior. For your own safety and that of your children, you need to leave. Infidelity: Once a cheater, always a cheater. Infidelity is much like domestic abuse; it is a behavior that will repeat itself. A spouse will cheat for many reasons, what you, the victim of infidelity, need to understand is that there is never a good reason. Note that these 'valid reasons to divorce' have existed throughout human history. They have always been a part of husband-wife relationships. Thus the question is as follows: why is divorce only a condition of the past half-century? In Fan (2001a), I provide an answer to this question, suggesting that divorce is a by-product of economic development.

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