This paper uses a game theoretic model to explain empirical research which has revealed higher relational satisfaction among married couples than cohabiting couples, as well as among married couples who did not cohabit before marriage. Despite these findings, in recent decades cohabitation rates have dramatically increased in both Europe and the United States. Instrumental variables estimations on data from 28 industrialized countries and 50 U.S. states show cohabitation strongly correlated with increases in women’s labor force participation, where a 10 percent increase in women’s labor force participation results in a 6.4 to 14.6 percent increase in cohabitation.
Bruce Wydick. Grandma was Right: Why Cohabitation Undermines Relational Happiness, but is Increasing Anyway. Kyklos: International Review for Social Sciences (November 2007), vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 617-645. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6435.2007.00388.x