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The Effect of Joint Custody on Marriage and Divorce

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  • Martin Halla

Abstract

Since the 1970s almost all states have introduced a form of joint custody after divorce. We analyze the causal effect of these custody law reforms on the incidence of marriage and divorce. Our identification strategy exploits the different timing of reforms across states and the control group of divorcing couples without minors. Estimations based on state panel data suggest that the introduction of joint custody led to a long-run increase in marriage rates. There is no convincing evidence for an impact of joint custody on divorce rates. In sum, joint custody has increased the stock of married people and dampened the persistent downturn in marriage. Our empirical evidence is fully consistent with the supposition that these additional marriages are the result of an increased incentive of men to marry.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series Economics working papers with number 2009-09.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2009_09

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Keywords: Joint custody; marriage; divorce; family law; marital-specific investment;

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  1. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
  2. Imran Rasul, 2006. "The Economics of Child Custody," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(289), pages 1-25, 02.
  3. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-54, June.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2006. "Divorce, fertility and the shot gun marriage," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2117, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  7. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," Research Papers 1828, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  8. Maria Cancian & Daniel Meyer, 1998. "Who gets custody?," Demography, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 147-157, May.
  9. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio P., 2008. "How Unilateral Divorce Affects Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3342, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Betsey Stevenson, 2007. "The Impact of Divorce Laws on Marriage-Specific Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 75-94.
  11. Scott Drewianka, 2008. "Divorce law and family formation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 485-503, April.
  12. Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," Research Papers 1819, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  13. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
  14. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1985. "Children as Collective Goods and Divorce Settlements," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 268-92, July.
  15. Del Boca, Daniela & Ribero, Rocio, 1998. "Transfers in non-intact households," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-478, December.
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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. Imran Rasul, 2006. "Marriage Markets and Divorce Laws," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 30-69, April.
  19. Katie R. Genadek & Wendy A. Stock & Christiana Stoddard, 2007. "No-Fault Divorce Laws and the Labor Supply of Women with and without Children," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
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Cited by:
  1. John M. Nunley & Richard Alan Seals Jr., 2011. "Child-Custody Reform and the Division of Labor in the Household," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2011-14, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
  2. Almudena Sevilla-Sanz & Delia Furtado and Miriam Marcen, 2010. "Does Culture Affect Divorce Decisions? Evidence from European Immigrants in the US," Economics Series Working Papers 495, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. Fisher, H., 2011. "Divorce Property Division and the Decision to Marry or Cohabit," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1101, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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