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Unilateral divorce rights, domestic violence and women’s agency: Evidence from the Egyptian Khul reform

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  • Corradini, Viola
  • Buccione, Giulia

Abstract

We investigate whether the introduction of the right to unilateral, no-fault, divorce for women has an impact on domestic abuse, investments in children’s human capital, women’s labor force participation, and other proxies of women’s agency in the context of the Egyptian Khul reform of 2000. We employ a difference in differences design, comparing mothers of children older than the age cutoffs used to assign the children’s custody to the mother, to mothers of younger children, before and after the reform. The first group of women is less affected by the legislative change in terms of being able to make credible divorce threats because it faces higher divorce costs, including the loss of alimony and the marital house. Results suggest that the introduction of Khul decreased domestic abuse and increased investments into children’s education while we do not find significant effects on labor force participation.

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  • Corradini, Viola & Buccione, Giulia, 2023. "Unilateral divorce rights, domestic violence and women’s agency: Evidence from the Egyptian Khul reform," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 160(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:160:y:2023:i:c:s0304387822000943
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2022.102947
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Divorce; Divorce law; Family law; Domestic violence; Female; Households; Intra-household bargaining; Khul; Children; Education; Mothers;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law

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