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Child-Custody Reform and Marriage-Specific Investment in Children

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  • Nunley, John M.
  • Seals, Alan

Abstract

Research on child custody primarily focuses on the well-being of children following divorce. We extend this literature by examining how the prospect of joint child custody affects marriage-specific investment in children’s private-school education. Variation in the timing of joint-custody reforms across states proxies for the prospect of joint child custody and provides a natural experiment framework with which to examine marriage-specific investment in children. The probability of children’s private school attendance declines by 13 percent in states that adopt joint-custody laws. The effects of joint-custody reform are larger in states that have property-division laws that consistently favor one parent over the other. The results are largely robust for subsamples partitioned by socioeconomic status.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 16313.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16313

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Keywords: child-custody laws; household bargaining; marriage-specific investment; private school attendance; property-division laws;

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