The first piece of evidence against an increase in access to the Internet uses state-by-state comparisons of both divorce rates and Internet access.The author finds that a 10% increase in the share of households that have access to the Internet in a state is correlated with an 11.6% decline in the state divorce rate.
Finally, the addition of a husband’s frequency of Internet access to this analysis indicates couples in which the husband uses the Internet every day are less likely to divorce, a result that is statistically significant.
One problem with this data is that we have no idea what people are doing online when they are searching.
The first observation here is that in as much as access to online dating and social networking sites lowers the cost of searching for a mate, increased access to the Internet should lead to higher quality marriages.
The second observation is that once people are married, because the cost of continuing to search for a new mate is also low with greater access to the Internet, people might continue to search for a new mate who exceeds the value of their existing mate.
Again the empirical analysis finds that increased access to the Internet decreases divorce rates except in this analysis the result is not statistically significant.
Again the addition of control variables (like income, education, race, number of children etc.) makes the effect of having access to the Internet on divorce completely disappear.
Michael Dunn does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Cardiff Metropolitan University provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.
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Though online social media is a relatively new phenomenon, cheating and the jealousy that people feel over it is practically ancient.