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Does community property discourage unpartnered births?

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  • Ekert-Jaffe, Olivia
  • Grossbard, Shoshana

Abstract

This paper investigates the likelihood of an unpartnered birth as a function of laws regulating the division of joint property in case of divorce. Based on a rational choice model of marriage and assuming that on average women earn less than men, we predict that women are less likely to have an unpartnered birth when rules for the division of joint property are more advantageous to spouses with lower earnings. We derive more predictions regarding the effects of age, non-intact home, and religiosity, and the interaction between these variables and legal regime regarding divorce. We test our predictions with retrospective data from the Family Fertility Surveys collected in the 1990s. Most of our predictions are confirmed by a multi-country analysis for 17 legal regimes in 12 Western countries as well as single-country analyses for four countries. Our major findings are that the likelihood of an unpartnered birth is higher in countries that offer most women less access to joint property in case of divorce, and that this effect is weaker for teenagers than for women in their twenties.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 24 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 25-40

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:24:y:2008:i:1:p:25-40

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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Cited by:
  1. Grossbard, Shoshana & Vernon, Victoria, 2014. "Common Law Marriage and Male/Female Convergence in Labor Supply and Time Use," IZA Discussion Papers 7937, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Alessandro Cigno, 2012. "Marriage as a commitment device," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 193-213, June.
  3. Carmen Deere & Abena Oduro & Hema Swaminathan & Cheryl Doss, 2013. "Property rights and the gender distribution of wealth in Ecuador, Ghana and India," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 249-265, June.

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