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Public Policies and Private Decisions: The Effect of Child Support Measures on Marriage and Divorce

  • Vicky Barham
  • Rose Anne Devlin
  • Jie Yang

Child support measures may affect the composition of households by altering the costs associated with marriage and divorce. In this paper, we use a rich panel data set, the Survey of Labour Income Dynamics, to examine the extent to which household formation and dissolution decisions were affected by the major child support reforms introduced in Canada in 1997. Our results suggest that they have had a small but positive impact on the decision to marry and a positive and important impact on the decision to divorce.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/501093
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 35 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 441-474

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:35:y:2006:p:441-474
DOI: 10.1086/501093
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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  1. Frank Furstenberg & Saul Hoffman & Laura Shrestha, 1995. "The effect of divorce on intergenerational transfers: New evidence," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(3), pages 319-333, August.
  2. 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.
  3. Binner, Jane M & Dnes, Antony W, 2001. "Marriage, Divorce, and Legal Change: New Evidence from England and Wales," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 298-306, April.
  4. Bergstrom, T. & Bagnali, M., 1991. "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers 91-3, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  5. Barham, Vicky & Devlin, Rose Anne & Yang, Jie, 2009. "A theory of rational marriage and divorce," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 93-106, January.
  6. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
  7. Brinig, Margaret F & Crafton, Steven M, 1994. "Marriage and Opportunism," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 869-94, June.
  8. Bradley T. Heim, 2003. "Does Child Support Enforcement Reduce Divorce Rates?: A Reexamination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(4).
  9. Zelder, Martin, 1993. "Inefficient Dissolutions as a Consequence of Public Goods: The Case of No-Fault Divorce," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 503-20, June.
  10. Lillard, Lee A., 1993. "Simultaneous equations for hazards : Marriage duration and fertility timing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1-2), pages 189-217, March.
  11. 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.
  12. Allen, Douglas W., 1990. "An inquiry into the state's role in marriage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 171-191, March.
  13. Vicky Barham & Rose Anne Devlin & Chantale LaCasse, 2000. "Are the New Child-Support Guidelines "Adequate" or "Reasonable"?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(1), pages 1-15, March.
  14. 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.
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