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Public transfers and marital dissolution

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  • Sigve Tjøtta
  • Kjell Vaage

Abstract

In this paper we analyse determinants of marital dissolution. The focus is on the alleged influence from public transfers, including governmental transfers directed towards divorced families, child allowance, and child support awards. We use a Norwegian panel of 2.800 couples who were married in 1989, together with a broad range of socio-economic variables, including (expected) public and private transfers in case of divorce. The sample is observed over a six-year period, with the purpose of registering marital dissolution. Our findings are consistent with matching models where divorce is explained according to assortative mating hypothesis. We find that the level of transfers has a significantly positive effect on the divorce probability, and that the distribution of transfers in favour of the wife increases the same probability. The fact that internal re-distribution between spouses affects the divorce propensity is consistent with non-unitary family models, but at odds with the predictions from unitary and/or common wealth models.
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Suggested Citation

  • Sigve Tjøtta & Kjell Vaage, 2008. "Public transfers and marital dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(2), pages 419-437, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:21:y:2008:i:2:p:419-437
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-006-0071-1
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    Cited by:

    1. Almudena Sevilla-Sanz & Delia Furtado and Miriam Marcen, 2010. "Does Culture Affect Divorce Decisions? Evidence from European Immigrants in the US," Economics Series Working Papers 495, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Espen Bratberg & Karsten Elseth Rieck & Kjell Vaage, 2014. "Intergenerational earnings mobility and divorce," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(4), pages 1107-1126, October.
    3. Espen Bratberg & Sigve Tjøtta, 2008. "Income effects of divorce in families with dependent children," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(2), pages 439-461, April.
    4. Steven G. Medema, 2020. "The Coase Theorem at Sixty," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 58(4), pages 1045-1128, December.
    5. Elina Vinberg & Rannveig Kaldager Hart & Torkild H. Lyngstad, 2015. "Increasingly stable or more stressful? Children and union dissolution across four decades Evidence from Norway," Discussion Papers 814, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    6. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Breaks in the breaks: An analysis of divorce rates in Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 242-255.
    7. Rannveig Kaldager Hart, 2019. "Union Histories of Dissolution: What Can They Say About Childlessness?," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 35(1), pages 101-131, February.
    8. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2010. "Unilateral Divorce vs. Child Custody and Child Support in the U.S," MPRA Paper 24695, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Unilateral divorce versus child custody and child support in the U.S," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 613-643.
    10. Delia Furtado & Miriam Marcén & Almudena Sevilla, 2013. "Does Culture Affect Divorce? Evidence From European Immigrants in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(3), pages 1013-1038, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Divorce; Marital dissolution; Public transfers; J12; J18;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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