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Until Death Do You Part: The Effects of Unilateral Divorce on Spousal Homicides

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  • Thomas S. Dee

    () (Department of Economics, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA 19081 and Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research.)

Abstract

This study examines how the widespread adoption of unilateral divorce influenced the prevalence of lethal spousal violence in the United States. These evaluations are based on fixed-effects specifications for spousal homicide counts from an annual panel of U.S. states from 1968 to 1978. The results indicate that unrestricted unilateral divorce laws had small and statistically insignificant effects on the amount of lethal spousal violence directed against wives. However, the easy access to divorce created by such laws increased spousal homicides of husbands by approximately 21%. These increases were concentrated in states where the division of marital property favored husbands. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas S. Dee, 2003. "Until Death Do You Part: The Effects of Unilateral Divorce on Spousal Homicides," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 163-182, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:41:y:2003:i:1:p:163-182
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Julio Cáceres-Delpiano & Eugenio Giolito, 2012. "The Impact of Unilateral Divorce on Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 215-248.
    2. Pablo Brassiolo, 2016. "Domestic Violence and Divorce Law: When Divorce Threats Become Credible," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 443-477.
    3. repec:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/692806 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Bruno Cardinale Lagomarsino & Martín Rossi, 2017. "Subsidized Home–ownership Programs, Transaction Costs, and Domestic Violence," Working Papers 129, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Apr 2017.
    5. Martin Halla, 2009. "The Effect of Joint Custody on Marriage and Divorce," NRN working papers 2009-09, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    6. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 267-288.
    7. Oleksandr Zhylyevskyy, 2012. "Spousal Conflict and Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 915-962.
    8. Aizer, Anna & Dal B, Pedro, 2009. "Love, hate and murder: Commitment devices in violent relationships," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 412-428.
    9. Anna Aizer, 2007. "Wages, Violence and Health in the Household," NBER Working Papers 13494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Jennifer Roff, 2017. "Cleaning in the Shadow of the Law? Bargaining, Marital Investment, and the Impact of Divorce Law on Husbands' Intrahousehold Work," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 115-134.
    11. Bellido, Héctor & Marcén, Miriam, 2011. "Divorce laws and fertility decisions," MPRA Paper 30243, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Smith, Ian, 2007. "Property division on divorce with inequity aversion," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 111-128.

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