27 September 2023

Why women who win the lottery leave their husbands

Start the conversation

Jessie Tu* says new research has found that married women who win the lottery are far more likely to ditch their husbands.

A new study from Sweden has revealed that married women who win the lottery are far more likely to divorce their spouses than men who win the lottery.

The study, titled “Fortunate Families? The effects of wealth on marriage and fertility”, analysed the short term effects of large, positive wealth acquisitions on marriage and fertility in Swedish lottery players.

Researchers found that married women who win the lottery are almost twice as likely as married men to file for a divorce in the aftermath of a win compared to male lottery winners.

“When the winning player is a married woman, our estimates suggest that a 1 million-Swedish krona ($AUD144,333.24) windfall almost doubles the base- line short-run divorce rate,” researchers found.

The study made a point of noting that winning the lottery as a woman doesn’t cause more divorces — it simply accelerates them for women who were already thinking about filing for divorce.

“We speculate that the positive wealth shock accelerates the exit from marriages whose dissolution was already underway,” the study found.

Men who win the lottery actually lead to higher marriage rates, and a reduced divorce risk, “…suggesting wealth increases men’s attractiveness as prospective and current partners,” researchers said.

“Long-term divorce risk goes down when husbands win the lottery.”

In fact, a lottery win for men increases the chance of unmarried men getting married in the five years after they win by 30 per cent, while the chances of married men getting divorced is reduced by 40 per cent.

Not only are male winners much more likely to get or stay married, they also end up having more children.

This trend was consistent regardless of whether the man was married or not.

“Wealth makes men more appealing to current / prospective partners, but gives women an early out from unsatisfactory ones,” the study concluded.

“Divorce settlements in Sweden often favour the richer spouse.”

The study confirmed previous empirical studies that showed husbands with higher income or employment stabilises marriages, while a wife’s income or employment increase has the opposite effect.

*Jessie Tu is a journalist at Women’s Agenda and author of A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing.

This article first appeared at womensagenda.com.au

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.