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The Impact of Unilateral Divorce on Crime

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Abstract

Using data from the FBI´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 percent during the period 1965-1996. 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.

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  • Julio Cáceres-Delpiano & Eugenio Giolito, 2011. "The Impact of Unilateral Divorce on Crime," ILADES-UAH Working Papers inv269, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ila:ilades:inv269
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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, School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    4. 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.
    5. 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. repec:pri:crcwel:wp06-35-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Libertad Gonzalez, 2014. "Should divorce be easier or harder?," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 113-113, December.
    8. Yen-Chien Chen & Elliott Fan & Jin-Tan Liu, 2019. "Understanding the Mechanisms of Parental Divorce Effects on Child’s Higher Education," NBER Working Papers 25886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. 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.
    10. Edith Aguirre, 2019. "Do changes in divorce legislation have an impact on divorce rates? The case of unilateral divorce in Mexico," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 28(1), pages 1-24, December.
    11. 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.
    12. Alexander, Adam C. & Chen, Weiyu & Ward, Kenneth D., 2018. "Is intelligence associated with mortality from lethal force by law enforcement?," Intelligence, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 30-35.
    13. 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.
    14. Shen, Danqing, 2018. "Marriage, Divorce and Sorting: A Reassessment of Unilateral Divorce Laws," MPRA Paper 92848, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. García-Ramos, Aixa, 2021. "Divorce laws and intimate partner violence: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    18. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Simonsen, Marianne, 2012. "The toll of fertility on mothers’ wellbeing," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 752-766.
    19. 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.
    20. Errol, Zeresh & Madsen, Jakob B. & Moslehi, Solmaz, 2021. "Social disorganization theory and crime in the advanced countries: Two centuries of evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 191(C), pages 519-537.
    21. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio, 2008. "How Unilateral Divorce Affects Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3342, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    22. Iljoong Kim & Jaewook Byeon, 2017. "Discretionary prosecution of regulatory crimes: disproportionate emphasis and consequences to other serious crimes," Asia-Pacific Journal of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 559-587, October.

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    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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