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Divorce and the Option Value of Marital Search

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  • VALERIO FILOSO

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Abstract

This works tests whether or not the introduction of divorce law changes the timing of marital search. Common sense suggests that rational agents should adjust to the divorce risk by increasing the average length of search spell, whereas the option value theory stresses the role played by irreversible investments: in this case, the new exit option available to married partners should result in shorter search spells. Using a dynamic model of marital search, a new dataset of retrospective individual Italian data, and two robust statistical specifications based upon the Before-After estimator, we find strong evidence that the legal innovation actually lowered the age at marriage, thereby worsening the level of marital matching, and possibly reinforcing self-fulfilling prophecies of divorce.

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File URL: http://www.child-centre.unito.it/papers/child03_2007.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY in its series CHILD Working Papers with number wp03_07.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpc:wplist:wp03_07

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Keywords: Marital Search; Divorce; Marriag;

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  1. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1997. "Match Quality, New Information, and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S293-329, January.
  2. Weiss, Y., 1993. "The Formation and Dissolution of Families: Why Marry? Who Maries Whom? and what Happens Upon Divorce?," Papers 15-93, Tel Aviv.
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