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The Impact of Unilateral Divorce on Crime

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  • Julio C�ceres-Delpiano
  • Eugenio Giolito

Abstract

Using data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report program and differences in the timing of the reform’s introduction, we find that unilateral divorce caused an increase in violent crime rates of approximately 9% during the period 1965–96. When we use age at the time of the reform as an additional source of variation, our findings suggest that young adult cohorts, who were children at the time of the reform, were particularly affected. Finally, we show evidence that a potential channel behind our findings is an increase in poverty and inequality among mothers who were “surprised” by the reform.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 30 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 215 - 248

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/662137

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/

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References

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  1. Ellman, Ira Mark & Lohr, Sharon L., 1998. "Dissolving the relationship between divorce laws and divorce rates," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 341-359, September.
  2. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio P., 2008. "How Unilateral Divorce Affects Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3342, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Bedard, Kelly & Deschenes, Olivier, 2003. "Sex Preferences, Marital Dissolution and the Economic Status of Women," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt07g2372x, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  4. Marianne E. Page & Ann Huff Stevens, 2004. "The Economic Consequences of Absent Parents," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
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  6. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2002. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation, and Household Labor Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 37-72, February.
  7. Stéphane Mechoulan, 2006. "Divorce Laws and the Structure of the American Family," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 143-174, 01.
  8. Ted Joyce, 2001. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," NBER Working Papers 8319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 267-288, 02.
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  17. Thomas S. Dee, 2003. "Until Death Do You Part: The Effects of Unilateral Divorce on Spousal Homicides," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 163-182, January.
  18. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2006. "Divorce, Fertility and the Shot Gun Marriage," NBER Working Papers 12375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Ted Joyce, 2009. "A Simple Test of Abortion and Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 112-123, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Simonsen, Marianne, 2012. "The toll of fertility on mothers’ wellbeing," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 752-766.
  2. Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy E. Reichman & Ofira Schwartz-Soicher, 2006. "Crime and Circumstance: The Effects of Infant Health Shocks on Fathers’ Criminal Activity," Working Papers 913, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  3. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio P., 2008. "How Unilateral Divorce Affects Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3342, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Reinhold, Steffen & Kneip, Thorsten & Bauer, Gerrit, 2011. "The Long Run Consequences of Unilateral Divorce Laws on Children –Evidence from SHARELIFE," MEA discussion paper series 11240, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  5. Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy Reichman & Ofira Schwartz-Soicher, 2011. "Life Shocks and Crime: A Test of the “Turning Point” Hypothesis," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 1177-1202, August.
  6. Ligthart, J.E. & Rider, M. & Wang, R., 2013. "Does the Fiscal Decentralization Promote Public Safety? Evidence from United States," Discussion Paper 2013-021, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

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