IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ehl/lserod/38465.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Female labor supply and divorce: new evidence from Ireland

Author

Listed:
  • Bargain, Olivier
  • González, Libertad
  • Keane, Claire
  • Özcan, Berkay

Abstract

If participation in the labor market helps to secure women’s outside options in the case of divorce/separation, an increase in the perceived risk of marital dissolution may accelerate the increase in female labor supply. This simple prediction has been tested in the literature using time and/or spatial variation in divorce legislation (e.g., across US states), leading to mixed results. In this paper, we suggest testing this hypothesis by exploiting a more radical policy change, i.e., the legalization of divorce. In Ireland, the right to divorce was introduced in 1996, followed by an acceleration of marriage breakdown rates. We use this fundamental change in the Irish society as a natural experiment. We follow a difference-in-difference approach, using families for whom the dissolution risk is small as a control group. Our results suggest that the legalization of divorce contributed to a significant increase in female labor supply, mostly at the extensive margin. Results are not driven by selection and are robust to several specification checks, including the introduction of household fixed effects and an improved match between control and treatment groups using propensity score reweighting.

Suggested Citation

  • Bargain, Olivier & González, Libertad & Keane, Claire & Özcan, Berkay, 2010. "Female labor supply and divorce: new evidence from Ireland," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 38465, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:38465
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/38465/
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Betsey Stevenson, 2007. "The Impact of Divorce Laws on Marriage-Specific Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 75-94.
    2. Doris, Aedin, 2001. "The Changing Responsiveness of Labour Supply during the 1990s," Quarterly Economic Commentary: Special Articles, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), vol. 2001(4-Decembe), pages 1-14.
    3. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2006. "Divorce, Fertility and the Shot Gun Marriage," IZA Discussion Papers 2157, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
    6. Sergio Firpo, 2007. "Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 259-276, January.
    7. Libertad González & Berkay Özcan, 2013. "The Risk of Divorce and Household Saving Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(2), pages 404-434.
    8. Giulio Fella & Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2004. "Does Divorce Law Matter?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 607-633, June.
    9. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1.
    10. Libertad González Luna & Tarja Viitanen, 2008. "The long term effects of legalizing divorce on children," Economics Working Papers 1122, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    11. R. Alessie & T.F. Crossley & V. Hildebrand, 2006. "Estimating a Collective Household Model with Survey Data on Financial Satisfaction," Working Papers 06-07, Utrecht School of Economics.
    12. González, Libertad & Viitanen, Tarja K., 2009. "The effect of divorce laws on divorce rates in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 127-138, February.
    13. Sen, Bisakha, 2000. "How important is anticipation of divorce in married women's labor supply decisions? An intercohort comparison using NLS data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 209-216, May.
    14. Mueller, Richard E., 2005. "The effect of marital dissolution on the labour supply of males and females: Evidence from Canada," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 787-809, December.
    15. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-454, June.
    16. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695, Elsevier.
    17. Papps, Kerry L., 2006. "The Effects of Divorce Risk on the Labour Supply of Married Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 2395, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Puhani, Patrick A., 2012. "The treatment effect, the cross difference, and the interaction term in nonlinear “difference-in-differences” models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 85-87.
    19. Shelly Lundberg & Elaina Rose, 1998. "The Determinants of Specialization Within Marriage," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0048, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    20. Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1802-1820, December.
    21. Victor Hiller & Magali Recoules, 2010. "Divorce decisions, divorce laws and social norms," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 10046, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    22. Katie R. Genadek & Wendy A. Stock & Christiana Stoddard, 2007. "No-Fault Divorce Laws and the Labor Supply of Women with and without Children," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
    23. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1992. "Marriage and Divorce: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 687-693, June.
    24. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
    25. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2002. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation, and Household Labor Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 37-72, February.
    26. El Lahga, Abdel Rahmen & Moreau, Nicolas, 2007. "The Effects of Marriage on Couples’ Allocation of Time Between Market and Non-Market Hours," IZA Discussion Papers 2619, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    27. Parkman, Allen M, 1992. "Unilateral Divorce and the Labor-Force Participation Rate of Married Women, Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 671-678, June.
    28. Lehrer, Evelyn L., 2009. "Religion, Human Capital Investments and the Family in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 4279, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    29. 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 1141-1187, December.
    30. Allen, Douglas W, 1992. "Marriage and Divorce: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 679-685, June.
    31. Martin Browning & Mette Gørtz, 2012. "Spending Time and Money within the Household," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(3), pages 681-704, September.
    32. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
    33. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 267-288.
    34. Gray, Jeffrey S, 1998. "Divorce-Law Changes, Household Bargaining, and Married Women's Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 628-642, June.
    35. Betsey Stevenson, 2008. "Divorce Law and Women's Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 14346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
    37. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    38. Dale Bremmer & Randy Kesselring, 2004. "Divorce and female labor force participation: Evidence from times-series data and cointegration," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 32(3), pages 175-190, September.
    39. Johnson, William R & Skinner, Jonathan, 1986. "Labor Supply and Marital Separation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 455-469, June.
    40. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    41. Allen, Douglas W., 1998. "No-fault divorce in Canada: Its cause and effect," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 129-149, October.
    42. Tim Callan & Arthur Van Soest & John R. Walsh, 2009. "Tax Structure and Female Labour Supply: Evidence from Ireland," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 23(1), pages 1-35, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Alessandro Cigno, 2011. "The Economics of Marriage," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(s1), pages 28-41, May.
    2. Alice Goisis & Berkay Özcan & Philippe Van Kerm, 2019. "Do Children Carry the Weight of Divorce?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(3), pages 785-811, June.
    3. Sansone, Dario, 2019. "Pink work: Same-sex marriage, employment and discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 180(C).
    4. Terhi Maczulskij & Petri Böckerman, 2019. "Harsh times: do stressors lead to labor market losses?," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 20(3), pages 357-373, April.
    5. 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.
    6. García-Ramos, Aixa, 2021. "Divorce laws and intimate partner violence: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    7. Olivier Bargain & Jordan Loper & Roberta Ziparo, 2020. "Traditional Norms, Access to Divorce and Women’s Empowerment: Evidence from Indonesia," Working Papers hal-03258226, HAL.
    8. Simen Markussen & Marte Strøm, 2022. "Children and labor market outcomes: separating the effects of the first three children," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 35(1), pages 135-167, January.
    9. Lundborg, Petter & Plug, Erik & Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz, 2014. "Fertility Effects on Female Labor Supply: IV Evidence from IVF Treatments," IZA Discussion Papers 8609, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Sanna Huikari & Marko Korhonen & Mikko Puhakka, 2016. "’Til booze do us part: alcohol consumption and marital dissolution," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 831-852, September.
    11. Libertad González & Berkay Özcan, 2013. "The Risk of Divorce and Household Saving Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(2), pages 404-434.
    12. Friedman-Sokuler, Naomi & Justman, Moshe, 2020. "Gender, culture and STEM: Counter-intuitive patterns in Arab society," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    13. Doorley, Karina & Stancanelli, Elena G. F., 2019. "Marital Status and Retirement: An Empirical Study for France," IZA Discussion Papers 12299, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Hoehn-Velasco, Lauren & Penglase, Jacob, 2021. "Does unilateral divorce impact women’s labor supply? Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 315-347.
    15. Libertad Gonzalez, 2014. "Should divorce be easier or harder?," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 113-113, December.
    16. Olivier Bargain & Jordan Loper & Roberta Ziparo, 2020. "Traditional Norms, Access to Divorce and Women’s Empowerment: Evidence from Indonesia," Bordeaux Economics Working Papers 2020-14, Bordeaux School of Economics (BSE).
    17. Heggeness, Misty L., 2020. "Improving child welfare in middle income countries: The unintended consequence of a pro-homemaker divorce law and wait time to divorce," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    18. Matias Busso & Dario Romero Fonseca, 2015. "Female Labor Force Participation in Latin America: Patterns and Explanations," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0187, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    19. World Bank, 2013. "Montenegro Gender Diagnostic," World Bank Publications - Reports 21827, The World Bank Group.
    20. Petter Lundborg & Erik Plug & Astrid Würtz Rasmussen, 2017. "Can Women Have Children and a Career? IV Evidence from IVF Treatments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(6), pages 1611-1637, June.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Elizabeth Horner, 2014. "Continued Pursuit of Happily Ever After: Low Barriers to Divorce and Happiness," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 228-240, June.
    2. John Douglas Skåtun, 2017. "Bargaining on your Spouse: Coasean and Non-Coasean Behaviour Within Marriage," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 263-278, June.
    3. González, Libertad & Viitanen, Tarja K., 2009. "The effect of divorce laws on divorce rates in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 127-138, February.
    4. Fernández, Raquel & Wong, Joyce Cheng, 2014. "Free to Leave? A Welfare Analysis of Divorce Regimes," CEPR Discussion Papers 10047, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Raquel Fernández & Joyce Cheng Wong, 2014. "Free to Leave? A Welfare Analysis of Divorce Regimes," NBER Working Papers 20251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Smith, Ian, 2007. "Property division on divorce with inequity aversion," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 111-128.
    7. 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.
    8. Thorsten Kneip & Gerrit Bauer & Steffen Reinhold, 2014. "Direct and Indirect Effects of Unilateral Divorce Law on Marital Stability," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(6), pages 2103-2126, December.
    9. Bellido, Héctor & Marcén, Miriam, 2014. "Divorce laws and fertility," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 56-70.
    10. Marcassa Stefania, 2013. "Divorce laws and divorce rate in the US," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-39, August.
    11. Chigavazira, Abraham & Fisher, Hayley & Robinson, Tim & Zhu, Anna, 2019. "The Consequences of Extending Equitable Property Division Divorce Laws to Cohabitants," Working Papers 2019-02, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    12. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2014. "Club classification of US divorce rates," MPRA Paper 59440, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Martin Halla & Wolfgang Frimmel & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2016. "How Does Parental Divorce Affect Children's Long-term Outcomes?," CDL Aging, Health, Labor working papers 2016-03, The Christian Doppler (CD) Laboratory Aging, Health, and the Labor Market, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    14. 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.
    15. Bellido, Héctor & Marcén, Miriam, 2011. "Divorce laws and fertility decisions," MPRA Paper 30243, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Li, Li & Mak, Eric, 2016. "Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage: The Catalyst Effect of Unilateral Divorce," MPRA Paper 83330, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. 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.
    18. Alessandra Voena, 2015. "Yours, Mine, and Ours: Do Divorce Laws Affect the Intertemporal Behavior of Married Couples?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2295-2332, August.
    19. 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.
    20. Böheim, René & Francesconi, Marco & Halla, Martin, 2012. "Does Custody Law Affect Family Behavior In and Out of Marriage?," IZA Discussion Papers 7064, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    divorce law; natural experiment; labor supply; fixed effects; propensity score;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:38465. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/lsepsuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: LSERO Manager (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/lsepsuk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.