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The Impact of Unilateral Divorce on Crime

Author

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  • Julio Cáceres-Delpiano
  • Eugenio Giolito

Abstract

Using data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report program and differences in the timing of the reform's introduction, we find that unilateral divorce caused an increase in violent crime rates of approximately 9% during the period 1965-96. When we use age at the time of the reform as an additional source of variation, our findings suggest that young adult cohorts, who were children at the time of the reform, were particularly affected. Finally, we show evidence that a potential channel behind our findings is an increase in poverty and inequality among mothers who were "surprised" by the reform.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/662137
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cuffe, Harold E. & Waddell, Glen R. & Bignell, Wesley, 2014. "Too Busy for School? The Effect of Athletic Participation on Absenteeism," IZA Discussion Papers 8426, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Seth G. Sanders, 2010. "Crime and the Family: Lessons from Teenage Childbearing," NBER Chapters,in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 573-598 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:pri:crcwel:wp06-35-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Libertad Gonzalez, 2014. "Should divorce be easier or harder?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 113-113, December.
    5. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio P., 2008. "How Unilateral Divorce Affects Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3342, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Simonsen, Marianne, 2012. "The toll of fertility on mothers’ wellbeing," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 752-766.
    7. Karin Hederos Eriksson & Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist & Anna Sandberg, 2016. "The importance of family background and neighborhood effects as determinants of crime," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 219-262, January.
    8. 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.
    9. Ho-Po Crystal WONG, 2016. "Credible Commitments and Marriage: When the Homemaker Gets her Share at Divorce," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 241-279, September.
    10. repec:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/692806 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. 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.
    12. Geir Wæhler Gustavsen & Rodolfo M. Nayga & Ximing Wu, 2016. "Effects of Parental Divorce on Teenage Children’s Risk Behaviors: Incidence and Persistence," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 474-487, September.
    13. 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.
    14. Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy E. Reichman & Ofira Schwartz-Soicher, 2006. "Crime and Circumstance: The Effects of Infant Health Shocks on Fathers' Criminal Activity," Working Papers 913, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    15. Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy Reichman & Ofira Schwartz-Soicher, 2011. "Life Shocks and Crime: A Test of the “Turning Point” Hypothesis," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(3), pages 1177-1202, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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