IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Unilateral divorce versus child custody and child support in the U.S

  • González-Val, Rafael
  • Marcén, Miriam

This paper explores the response of the divorce rate to law reforms introducing unilateral divorce after controlling for law reforms concerning the aftermath of divorce, which are omitted from most previous studies. We introduce two main policy changes that have swept the US since the late 1970s: the approval of the joint custody regime and the Child Support Enforcement program. Because those reforms affect divorce decisions by counteracting the reallocation of property rights generated by the unilateral divorce procedure and by increasing the expected financial costs of divorce, it is arguable that their omissions might obscure the impact of unilateral divorce reforms on divorce rates. After allowing for changes in laws concerning the aftermath of divorce, we find that the positive impact of unilateral divorce reforms on divorce rates does not vanish over time, suggesting that the Coase theorem may not apply to changes in divorce laws. Supplemental analysis, developed to examine the frequency of permanent shocks in US divorce rates, indicates that the positive permanent changes in divorce rates can be associated with the implementation of unilateral divorce reforms and that the negative permanent changes can be related to the law reforms concerning living arrangements in the aftermath of divorce. This seems to confirm the important role of these policies in the evolution of divorce rates.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268111002125
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 81 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 613-643

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:81:y:2012:i:2:p:613-643
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Perron, Pierre, 1989. "The Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1361-1401, November.
  2. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 213-236, May.
  3. Andrews, Donald W K, 1991. "Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 817-58, May.
  4. Elaine Sorensen & Ariel Hill, 2004. "Single Mothers and Their Child-Support Receipt: How Well Is Child-Support Enforcement Doing?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  5. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nunley, John M. & Seals Jr., Richard Alan, 2011. "Child-custody reform, marital investment in children, and the labor supply of married mothers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 14-24, January.
  7. Libertad González Luna & Tarja K. Viitanen, 2006. "The effect of divorce laws on divorce rates in Europe," Economics Working Papers 986, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. Stéphane Mechoulan, 2006. "Divorce Laws and the Structure of the American Family," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 143-174, 01.
  9. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1992. "Marriage and Divorce: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 687-93, June.
  10. Tjøtta, Sigve & Vaage, Kjell, 2002. "Public Transfers and Marital Dissolution," Working Papers in Economics 08/02, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  11. Christian J. Murray & David H. Papell, 2000. "The Purchasing Power Parity Persistence Paradigm," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0017, Econometric Society.
  12. Maarten Bosker & Steven Brakman & Harry Garretsen & Marc Schramm, 2006. "A Century of Shocks: The Evolution of the German City Size Distribution 1925 – 1999," CESifo Working Paper Series 1728, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Clemente, Jesus & Montanes, Antonio & Reyes, Marcelo, 1998. "Testing for a unit root in variables with a double change in the mean," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 175-182, May.
  14. Paresh Kumar Narayan & Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth, 2005. "Is there a Natural Rate of Crime?," Monash Economics Working Papers 18/05, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  15. Jensen, Peter & Smith, Nina, 1990. "Unemployment and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 215-29, October.
  16. Anna Aizer & ASara McLanahan, 2006. "The Impact of Child Support Enforcement on Fertility, Parental Investments, and Child Well-Being," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
  17. Allen, Brandeanna & Nunley, John & Seals, Alan, 2008. "The Effect of Joint-Child-Custody Legislation on the Child-Support Receipt of Single Mothers," MPRA Paper 16316, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2009.
  18. 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.
  19. Bradley T. Heim, 2003. "Does Child Support Enforcement Reduce Divorce Rates?: A Reexamination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(4).
  20. M. Hashem Pesaran, 2007. "A simple panel unit root test in the presence of cross-section dependence," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 265-312.
  21. BAI, Jushan & PERRON, Pierre, 1998. "Computation and Analysis of Multiple Structural-Change Models," Cahiers de recherche 9807, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  22. Eric Zivot & Donald W.K. Andrews, 1990. "Further Evidence on the Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 944, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  23. Furtado, Delia & Marcén, Miriam & Sevilla, Almudena, 2011. "Does Culture Affect Divorce Decisions? Evidence from European Immigrants in the US," IZA Discussion Papers 5960, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Martin Halla, 2013. "The Effect Of Joint Custody On Family Outcomes," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 278-315, 04.
  25. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-54, June.
  26. Scott Drewianka, 2008. "Divorce law and family formation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 485-503, April.
  27. Niko Matouschek & Imran Rasul, 2008. "The Economics of the Marriage Contract: Theories and Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 59-110, 02.
  28. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 1998. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 47-78, January.
  29. Frans Poppel & Joop Beer, 1993. "Measuring the effect of changing legislation on the frequency of divorce: The Netherlands, 1830–1990," Demography, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 425-441, August.
  30. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2002. "Bones, Bombs, and Break Points: The Geography of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1269-1289, December.
  31. Christine Atteneder & Martin Halla, 2006. "Bargaining at divorce: The allocation of custody," Economics working papers 2006-18, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, revised Jan 2007.
  32. Smith, Ian, 1997. "Explaining the Growth of Divorce in Great Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 44(5), pages 519-44, November.
  33. Cooper, Suzanne & Piehl, Anne Morrison & Braga, Anthony & Kennedy, David, 2001. "Testing for Structural Breaks in the Evaluation of Programs," Working Paper Series rwp01-019, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  34. Ellman, Ira Mark & Lohr, Sharon L., 1998. "Dissolving the relationship between divorce laws and divorce rates," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 341-359, September.
  35. Banerjee, Anindya & Dolado, Juan J. & Galbraith, John W. & Hendry, David, 1993. "Co-integration, Error Correction, and the Econometric Analysis of Non-Stationary Data," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288107, March.
  36. Papell, David H., 1997. "Searching for stationarity: Purchasing power parity under the current float," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3-4), pages 313-332, November.
  37. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, May.
  38. Perron, P., 1989. "Testing For A Unit Root In A Time Series With A Changing Mean," Papers 347, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  39. John M. Nunley, 2007. "Inflation and Other Aggregate Determinants of the Trend in U.S. Divorce Rates since the 1960s," Working Papers 200717, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
  40. Eliana La Ferrara & Alberto E. Chong, 2009. "Television and Divorce: Evidence from Brazilian Novelas," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6760, Inter-American Development Bank.
  41. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
  42. Gray, Jeffrey S, 1998. "Divorce-Law Changes, Household Bargaining, and Married Women's Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 628-42, June.
  43. Perron, Pierre & Vogelsang, Timothy J, 1992. "Nonstationarity and Level Shifts with an Application to Purchasing Power Parity," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(3), pages 301-20, July.
  44. Imran Rasul, 2006. "The Economics of Child Custody," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(289), pages 1-25, 02.
  45. Ben-David, Dan & Papell, David H., 1997. "International trade and structural change," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3-4), pages 513-523, November.
  46. Imran Rasul, 2006. "Marriage Markets and Divorce Laws," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 30-69, April.
  47. Bai, Jushan, 1997. "Estimating Multiple Breaks One at a Time," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(03), pages 315-352, June.
  48. Rand Ressler & Melissa Waters, 2000. "Female earnings and the divorce rate: a simultaneous equations model," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(14), pages 1889-1898.
  49. Weiss, Y. & Willis, R.J., 1995. "Match Quality, New Information and Marital Dissolution," Papers 33-95, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
  50. Allen, Douglas W, 1992. "Marriage and Divorce: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 679-85, June.
  51. Im, Kyung So & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Shin, Yongcheol, 2003. "Testing for unit roots in heterogeneous panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 53-74, July.
  52. Allen, Douglas W., 1998. "No-fault divorce in Canada: Its cause and effect," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 129-149, October.
  53. Robin L. Lumsdaine & David H. Papell, 1997. "Multiple Trend Breaks And The Unit-Root Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 212-218, May.
  54. Michael Svarer & Mette Verner, 2008. "Do children stabilize relationships in Denmark?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 395-417, April.
  55. Robert I. Lerman, 1993. "Policy Watch: Child Support Policies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 171-182, Winter.
  56. Lucia A. Nixon, 1997. "The Effect of Child Support Enforcement on Marital Dissolution," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 159-181.
  57. David H. Papell & Christian J. Murray & Hala Ghiblawi, 2000. "The Structure of Unemployment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 309-315, May.
  58. Levin, Andrew & Lin, Chien-Fu & James Chu, Chia-Shang, 2002. "Unit root tests in panel data: asymptotic and finite-sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-24, May.
  59. Saul D. Hoffman & Greg J. Duncan, 1995. "The Effect of Incomes, Wages, and AFDC Benefits on Marital Disruption," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 19-41.
  60. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-72, June.
  61. Papell, David H., 2002. "The great appreciation, the great depreciation, and the purchasing power parity hypothesis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 51-82, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:81:y:2012:i:2:p:613-643. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.