Sunday, February 13, 2011

Is love in the air?

Love is in the air everywhere I look around. Love is in the air, every sight and every sound. And I don't know if I'm being foolish, don't know if I'm being wise but it's something that I must believe in and it's there when I look in your eye. Well not really but according to a recent article in an Irish newspaper (which I have mislaid) there is a boom in the number of couples marrying, despite or perhaps because of the recession.
On the hand marriages cost money so we would expect a fall but according to Oswald & Clark, the utility of marriage is worth a lot in monetary terms (about £70k per annum, in 2001 prices) so one might expect people to substitute into marriage since cash is hard to come by these days.
So whats the evidence for Ireland? I plot about 20 years of data on annual marriage and unemployment rates (which I extracted with some difficulty from the CSO web site). While its hard to infer much it seems that largely marriage rates fall as unemployment rises though it may rise at the high rates we currently observe.

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