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The Fragility of Estimated Effects of Unilateral Divorce Laws on Divorce Rates

Author

Listed:
  • Lee Jin Young

    () (Michigan State University)

  • Solon Gary

    () (Michigan State University)

Abstract

Following an influential article by Friedberg (1998) on the response of divorce rates to the adoption of unilateral divorce laws, Wolfers (2006) explored the sensitivity of Friedberg’s results to allowing for dynamic response. We in turn explore the sensitivity of Wolfers’s results to variations in estimation method and functional form, and we find that the results are extremely fragile. We conclude first that the impact of unilateral divorce laws remains unclear. Second, we make the methodological point that identification in differences-in-differences research becomes weaker in the presence of dynamics, especially in the presence of unit-specific time trends.

Suggested Citation

  • Lee Jin Young & Solon Gary, 2011. "The Fragility of Estimated Effects of Unilateral Divorce Laws on Divorce Rates," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-11, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2011:i:1:n:49
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Vogelsang, Timothy J., 2012. "Heteroskedasticity, autocorrelation, and spatial correlation robust inference in linear panel models with fixed-effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(2), pages 303-319.
    3. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
    4. Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1802-1820, December.
    5. Gary Solon, 1984. "Estimating Autocorrelations in Fixed-Effects Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Arellano, M, 1987. "Computing Robust Standard Errors for Within-Groups Estimators," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(4), pages 431-434, November.
    7. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    8. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Tools of the trade: when to use those sample weights
      by Jed Friedman in Development Impact on 2013-03-13 18:01:04

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    Cited by:

    1. Huber III Arthur & Newman Rebecca & LaFave Daniel, 2016. "Cannabis Control and Crime: Medicinal Use, Depenalization and the War on Drugs," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(4), pages 1-35, October.
    2. Jonathan Meer & Jeremy West, 2016. "Effects of the Minimum Wage on Employment Dynamics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(2), pages 500-522.
    3. Thorsten Kneip & Gerrit Bauer & Steffen Reinhold, 2014. "Direct and Indirect Effects of Unilateral Divorce Law on Marital Stability," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(6), pages 2103-2126, December.
    4. Peter T. Leeson & Joshua Pierson, 2016. "Prenups," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 367-400.
    5. Domenico Tabasso, 2011. "With or Without You: Hazard of Divorce and Intra-household Allocation of Time," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2011n07, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    6. Vogelsang, Timothy J., 2012. "Heteroskedasticity, autocorrelation, and spatial correlation robust inference in linear panel models with fixed-effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(2), pages 303-319.
    7. Sara Allin & Michael Baker & Maripier Isabelle & Mark Stabile, 2015. "Physician Incentives and the Rise in C-sections: Evidence from Canada," NBER Working Papers 21022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Sheena Murray, 2017. "Urban Density and the Procyclicality of Divorce," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 37(1), pages 411-422.
    9. Andrew Goodman-Bacon, 2016. "The Long-Run Effects of Childhood Insurance Coverage: Medicaid Implementation, Adult Health, and Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 22899, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law

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