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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. Gonzalez, Libertad & Viitanen, Tarja, 2006. "The Effect of Divorce Laws on Divorce Rates in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 2023, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Heisz, Andrew & Corak, Miles, 1999. "Death and Divorce: The Long-term Consequences of Parental Loss on Adolescents," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1999135e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  3. 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.
  4. Gonzalez, Libertad & Özcan, Berkay, 2008. "The Risk of Divorce and Household Saving Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 3726, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Berger, Lawrence & Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne & Paxson, Christina & Waldfogel, Jane, 2008. "First-year maternal employment and child outcomes: Differences across racial and ethnic groups," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 365-387, April.
  6. Pierre-André Chiappori & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2001. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation and Household Labor Supply," CIRANO Working Papers 2001s-16, CIRANO.
  7. 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).
  8. Betsey Stevenson, 2008. "Divorce Law and Women's Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 14346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.
  11. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio P., 2008. "How Unilateral Divorce Affects Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3342, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2003. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," NBER Working Papers 10175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 7666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old Age Pension and Intra-household Allocation in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 8061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. repec:bla:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:4:p:1085-1120 is not listed on IDEAS
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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. 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.
  3. Viitanen, Tarja, 2011. "Parental Divorce and Generalized Trust," IZA Discussion Papers 5898, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Steffen Reinhold & Thorsten Kneip & Gerrit Bauer, 2013. "The long run consequences of unilateral divorce laws on children—evidence from SHARELIFE," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 1035-1056, July.
  5. Sgroi, Daniel & Proto, Eugenio & Oswald, Andrew J., 2010. "Are Happiness and Productivity Lower among University Students with Newly-Divorced Parents? An Experimental Approach," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 937, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

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