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Public transfers and marital dissolution

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  • Sigve Tjøtta
  • Kjell Vaage

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Abstract

In this paper we analyse determinants of marital dissolution. The focus is on the alleged influence from public transfers, including governmental transfers directed towards divorced families, child allowance, and child support awards. We use a Norwegian panel of 2.800 couples who were married in 1989, together with a broad range of socio-economic variables, including (expected) public and private transfers in case of divorce. The sample is observed over a six-year period, with the purpose of registering marital dissolution. Our findings are consistent with matching models where divorce is explained according to assortative mating hypothesis. We find that the level of transfers has a significantly positive effect on the divorce probability, and that the distribution of transfers in favour of the wife increases the same probability. The fact that internal re-distribution between spouses affects the divorce propensity is consistent with non-unitary family models, but at odds with the predictions from unitary and/or common wealth models.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 21 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 419-437

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:21:y:2008:i:2:p:419-437

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Related research

Keywords: Divorce; Marital dissolution; Public transfers; J12; J18;

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References

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  1. Allen, Douglas W, 1992. "Marriage and Divorce: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 679-85, June.
  2. Espen Bratberg & Sigve Tjøtta, 2008. "Income effects of divorce in families with dependent children," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 439-461, April.
  3. Jensen, Peter & Smith, Nina, 1990. "Unemployment and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 215-29, October.
  4. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James & Navarro, Salvador, 2004. "Separating uncertainty from heterogeneity in life cycle earnings," Working Paper Series 2005:6, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
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  7. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 2001. "Efficiency in Marriage," NBER Working Papers 8642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
  9. Apps, Patricia F. & Rees, Ray, 1988. "Taxation and the household," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 355-369, April.
  10. Robert A. Nakosteen & Olle Westerlund & Michael A. Zimmer, 2004. "Marital Matching and Earnings: Evidence from the Unmarried Population in Sweden," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
  11. Fella, Giulio & Manzini, Paola & Mariotti, Marco, 2002. "Does Divorce Law Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 439, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Chiappori, P.A., 1989. "Collective Labour Supply and Welfare," DELTA Working Papers 89-07, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  13. Aloysius Siow, 1996. "Differential Fecundity, Markets and Gender Roles," Working Papers siow-96-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  14. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  15. Helmut Rainer, 2005. "Gender Discrimination and Efficiency in Marriage: the Bargaining Family under Scrutiny," CRIEFF Discussion Papers 0512, Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm.
  16. Jarvis, Sarah & Jenkins, Stephen P., 1997. "Marital splits and income changes: evidence for Britain," ISER Working Paper Series 97-04, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  17. Flinn, Christopher J, 2000. "Modes of Interaction between Divorced Parents," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(3), pages 545-78, August.
  18. Clark, Simon, 1999. "Law, Property, and Marital Dissolution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages C41-54, March.
  19. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
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  21. William R. Johnson & Jonathan Skinner, 1988. "Accounting for Changes in the Labor Supply of Recently Divorced Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 417-436.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Breaks in the breaks: An analysis of divorce rates in Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 242-255.
  2. Furtado, Delia & Marcén, Miriam & Sevilla, Almudena, 2011. "Does Culture Affect Divorce Decisions? Evidence from European Immigrants in the US," IZA Discussion Papers 5960, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Bratberg, Espen & Tjøtta, Sigve, 2002. "Income Effects of Divorce in Families with Dependent Children," Working Papers in Economics 20/02, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  4. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Unilateral divorce versus child custody and child support in the U.S," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 613-643.
  5. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2010. "Unilateral Divorce vs. Child Custody and Child Support in the U.S," MPRA Paper 24695, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Delia Furtado & Miriam Marcén & Almudena Sevilla, 2013. "Does Culture Affect Divorce? Evidence From European Immigrants in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 1013-1038, June.
  7. Bratberg, Espen & Rieck, Karsten Marshall Elseth & Vaage, Kjell, 2011. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility and Divorce," Working Papers in Economics 09/11, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.

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