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Financial implications of relationship breakdown: does marriage matter?

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  • Hayley Fisher
  • Hamish Low

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Trinity College, Cambridge)

Abstract

In raw data in the UK, the income loss on separation for women who were cohabiting is less than the loss for those who were married. Cohabitees lose less even after matching on observable characteristics including age and children. This difference is not explained by differences in access to benefits or labour supply responses after separation. We show that the difference arises because of differences in access to family support networks: cohabitees' household income falls by less because they are more likely to live with other adults, particularly their family, following separation, even after matching on age and children. Divorced women do not return to living with their extended families. The greater legal protection offered by marriage does not appear to translate into economic protection.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W12/17.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:12/17

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Related research

Keywords: divorce; cohabitation; income loss; matching;

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist, 1998. "Estimating the Labor Market Impact of Voluntary Military Service Using Social Security Data on Military Applicants," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(2), pages 249-288, March.
  2. Arnstein Aassve & Gianni Betti & Stefano Mazzuco & Letizia Mencarini, 2007. "Marital disruption and economic well-being: a comparative analysis," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(3), pages 781-799.
  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. Matthew Gray & Bruce Chapman, 2007. "Relationship break-down and the economic welfare of Australian mothers and their children," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 10(4), pages 253-277, December.
  5. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Thomas Crossley, 2003. "Econometrics for Evaluations: An Introduction to Recent Developments," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(247), pages 491-511, December.
  6. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
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