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Divorce decisions, divorce laws and social norms

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Abstract

This article focuses on the three way relationship between change in divorce law, evolution of divorce rate and evolution of the cultural acceptance of divorce. We consider a heterogeneous population in which individuals differ in terms of the subjective loss they suffer when divorced, this loss being associated with stigmatizing social norms. The proportion of each type of individual evolves endogenously through a cultural transmission process. Divorce law is chosen by majority voting between two alternatives : mutual consent and unilateral divorce. In this framework, evolutions of divorce rate and divorce law may be jointly affected by the cultural dynamics within the society. In particular, we are able to reproduce the fact that divorce rate often raises before a legislation change. Indeed, the shift from consensual to unilateral divorce has an accelerating effect on the increase in divorce rate but is not the driving force behind this evolution.

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File URL: ftp://mse.univ-paris1.fr/pub/mse/CES2010/10046.pdf
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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne in its series Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne with number 10046.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:10046

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Keywords: Marriage and divorce; divorce legislation; cultural evolution; social norms.;

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  1. 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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Cited by:
  1. Bargain, Olivier & Gonzalez, Libertad & Keane, Claire & Özcan, Berkay, 2010. "Female Labor Supply and Divorce: New Evidence from Ireland," IZA Discussion Papers 4959, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. de la Croix, David & Mariani, Fabio, 2012. "From Polygyny to Serial Monogamy: A Unified Theory of Marriage Institutions," IZA Discussion Papers 6599, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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