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Secularization, union formation practices and marital stability: Evidence from Italy

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  • Roberto Impicciatore
  • Francesco Billari

Abstract

Using descriptive statistics, civil marriages and marriages preceded by premarital cohabitation are more unstable, i.e., more frequently followed by divorce. However, the literature has shown that selectivity plays an important role in the relationship between premarital cohabitation and union dissolution. We do not have evidence to date regarding the selectivity in the effect of civil marriage. The Italian case appears particularly interesting given the recent diffusion of premarital cohabitation and civil marriage. Using micro-level data from a national-level representative survey held in 2003, we develop a multiprocess model that allows unobserved heterogeneity to be correlated across the three decisions (premarital cohabitation, civil marriage, and divorce). Our results show that selectivity is the main factor that explains the higher divorce rates among those who experience premarital cohabitation and a civil marriage. Net of selectivity, the causal effect on union dissolution disappears.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in its series Working Papers with number 026.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: May 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:don:donwpa:026

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Related research

Keywords: divorce; cohabitation; civil marriage; religion; multiprocess models; selectivity;

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Cited by:
  1. RUSSO, Federica & MOUCHART, Michel & WUNSCH, Guillaume, 2013. "Confounding and control in a multivariate system. An issue in causal attribution," CORE Discussion Papers 2013068, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).

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