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The Long Term Effects of Legalizing Divorce on Children

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  • Libertad Gonzalez

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • Tarja Viitanen

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Otago)

Abstract

We estimate the effect of divorce legalization on the long-term well-being of children. Our identification strategy relies on exploiting the different timing of divorce legalization across European countries. Using European Community Household Panel data, we compare the adult outcomes of cohorts who were raised in an environment where divorce was banned with cohorts raised after divorce was legalized in the same country. We also have "control" countries where all cohorts were exposed (or not exposed) to divorce as children, thus leading to a difference-in-differences approach. We find that women who grew up under legal divorce have lower earnings and income as well as worse health as adults compared with women who grew up under illegal divorce. These effects are not found for men. We find no effects of divorce legalization on childrenÕs family formation or dissolution patterns.

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File URL: http://www.business.otago.ac.nz/econ/research/discussionpapers/DP_0901.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Otago, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0901.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision: Jan 2009
Handle: RePEc:otg:wpaper:0901

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Keywords: divorce; legislation; intergenerational effects; child outcomes;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Betsey Stevenson, 2006. "The impact of divorce laws on marriage-specific capital," Working Paper Series 2006-43, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. repec:bla:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:4:p:1085-1120 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Esther Duflo, 2003. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 1-25, June.
  5. Betsey Stevenson, 2008. "Divorce Law and Women's Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 14346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio P., 2008. "How Unilateral Divorce Affects Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3342, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Corak, Miles, 2001. "Death and Divorce: The Long-Term Consequences of Parental Loss on Adolescents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 682-715, July.
  8. Jonathan Gardner & Andrew J. Oswald, 2006. "Do divorcing couples become happier by breaking up?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(2), pages 319-336.
  9. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  10. Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna & Vuri, Daniela, 2004. "Does Parental Divorce Affect Adolescents' Cognitive Development? Evidence from Longitudinal Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1206, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. 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).
  12. Kevin Lang & Jay L. Zagorsky, 2001. "Does Growing up with a Parent Absent Really Hurt?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 253-273.
  13. 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.
  14. Lawrence M. Berger & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn & Christina Paxson & Jane Waldfogel, 2007. "First-Year Maternal Employment and Child Outcomes: Differences Across Racial and Ethnic Groups," Working Papers 911, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  15. Libertad González Luna & Berkay Özcan, 2008. "The risk of divorce and household saving behavior," Economics Working Papers 1111, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  16. Libertad González Luna & Tarja K. Viitanen, 2006. "The effect of divorce laws on divorce rates in Europe," Economics Working Papers 986, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  17. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Demand for Sons: Evidence from Divorce, Fertility, and Shotgun Marriage," NBER Working Papers 10281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," NBER Working Papers 7968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Olivier Bargain & Libertad González & Claire Keane & Berkay Özcan, 2010. "Female Labor Supply and Divorce: New Evidence from Ireland," Working Papers 201031, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  2. 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.
  3. Proto, Eugenio & Sgroi, Daniel & Oswald, Andrew J., 2010. "Are Happiness and Productivity Lower among University Students with Newly-Divorced Parents? An Experimental Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 4755, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Eugenio Proto & Daniel Sgroi & Andrew Oswald, 2012. "Are happiness and productivity lower among young people with newly-divorced parents? An experimental and econometric approach," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 1-23, March.
  5. Viitanen, Tarja, 2011. "Parental Divorce and Generalized Trust," IZA Discussion Papers 5898, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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