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The Effect of Marital Breakup on the Income Distribution of Women with Children

  • Elizabeth O. Ananat
  • Guy Michaels

Having a female first-born child significantly increases the probability that a woman’s first marriage breaks up. Using this exogenous variation, recent work finds that divorce has little effect on women’s mean household income. We further investigate the effect of divorce using Quantile Treatment Effect methodology and find that it increases women’s odds of having very high or very low income. In other words, while some women successfully compensate for lost spousal earnings through child support, welfare, combining households, and increasing labor supply, others are markedly unsuccessful. We conclude that by raising both poverty and inequality, divorce has important welfare consequences.

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File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/43/3/611
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 43 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 611-629

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:43:y:2008:i:3:p:611-629
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. Dinardo, J. & Fortin, N.M. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Cahiers de recherche 9406, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
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