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Direct and Indirect Effects of Unilateral Divorce Law on Marital Stability

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  • Thorsten Kneip

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  • Gerrit Bauer

    ()

  • Steffen Reinhold

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Abstract

Previous research examining the impact of unilateral divorce law (UDL) on the prevalence of divorce has provided mixed results. Studies based on cross-sectional cross-country/cross-state survey data have received criticism for disregarding unobserved heterogeneity across countries, as have studies using country-level panel data for failing to account for possible mediating mechanisms at the micro level. We seek to overcome both shortcomings by using individual-level event-history data from 11 European countries (SHARELIFE) and controlling for unobserved heterogeneity over countries and cohorts. We find that UDL in total increased the incidence of marital breakdown by about 20 %. This finding, however, neglects potential selection effects into marriage. Accordingly, the estimated effect of unilateral divorce laws becomes much larger when we control for age at marriage, which is used as indicator for match quality. Moreover, we find that UDL particularly affects marital stability in the presence of children. Copyright Population Association of America 2014

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:51:y:2014:i:6:p:2103-2126
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-014-0337-2
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    Cited by:

    1. Chigavazira, Abraham & Fisher, Hayley & Robinson, Tim & Zhu, Anna, 2019. "The Consequences of Extending Equitable Property Division Divorce Laws to Cohabitants," Working Papers 2019-02, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    2. Gerrit Bauer, 2016. "Gender Roles, Comparative Advantages and the Life Course: The Division of Domestic Labor in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Couples," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(1), pages 99-128, February.
    3. Angelini, Viola & Bertoni, Marco & Stella, Luca & Weiss, Christoph T., 2019. "The ant or the grasshopper? The long-term consequences of Unilateral Divorce Laws on savings of European households," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 97-113.
    4. Steffen Reinhold & Thorsten Kneip & Gerrit Bauer, 2013. "The long run consequences of unilateral divorce laws on children—evidence from SHARELIFE," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 1035-1056, July.

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