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Symbolism Matters: The Effect of Same-Sex Marriage Legalization on Partnership Stability

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  • Chen, Shuai
  • van Ours, Jan C.

Abstract

We study the effect of marriage on the stability of formal partnerships exploiting same-sex marriage legalization in the Netherlands as a natural experiment. Same-sex marriage legalization allowed registered partnerships to be transformed into marriage. Since registered partnerships and marriages are similar in terms of rights and obligations we can investigate the effect of marital symbolism on the partnership stability. Using rich administrative data, we find that same-sex marriage legalization had two different effects. First, it increased the separation rate of existing same-sex registered partnerships. Second, partnerships that were transformed into marriage had a substantially lower separation rate. We take the second finding as evidence of the symbolic effect of marriage stabilizing partnerships.

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  • Chen, Shuai & van Ours, Jan C., 2019. "Symbolism Matters: The Effect of Same-Sex Marriage Legalization on Partnership Stability," CEPR Discussion Papers 13901, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13901
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    Cited by:

    1. Shuai Chen & Jan van Ours, 2021. "Mental Health Effects of Same-Sex Marriage Legalization," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 21-003/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Hofmarcher, Thomas & Plug, Erik, 2021. "Specialization in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 14709, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Avner Seror & Rohit Ticku, 2021. "Legalized Same-Sex Marriage and Coming Out in America: Evidence from Catholic Seminaries," Working Papers 21-07, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law

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