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Cleaning in the Shadow of the Law? Bargaining, Marital Investment, and the Impact of Divorce Law on Husbands' Intra-Household Work

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  • Roff, Jennifer Louise

    () (CUNY Graduate Center)

Abstract

Previous literature has established that unilateral divorce laws may reduce female household work. As shown by Stevenson (2007), unilateral divorce laws may affect overall marital investment. In addition, if unilateral divorce has differential costs by gender, then unilateral divorce may impact household work by gender through bargaining channels. However, little research has examined how divorce laws may affect males' household production and the gender distribution of household work. To examine this issue, I use data on matched couples from the PSID and exploit variation over time in state divorce laws. This research indicates that unilateral divorce laws lead to a decrease in marital investment, as measured by both males and females' household work. The evidence also supports a bargaining response to divorce laws, as fathers in states without joint custody laws show a significantly higher share of household work with unilateral divorce than those in states with joint custody laws, consistent with a relatively higher cost of marital dissolution among fathers who stand to lose custody of their children.

Suggested Citation

  • Roff, Jennifer Louise, 2017. "Cleaning in the Shadow of the Law? Bargaining, Marital Investment, and the Impact of Divorce Law on Husbands' Intra-Household Work," IZA Discussion Papers 10527, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10527
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas S. Dee, 2003. "Until Death Do You Part: The Effects of Unilateral Divorce on Spousal Homicides," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 163-182, January.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Wolfgang Frimmel & Martin Halla & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2013. "Assortative mating and divorce: evidence from Austrian register data," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 176(4), pages 907-929, October.
    5. Bargain, Olivier & González, Libertad & Keane, Claire & Özcan, Berkay, 2012. "Female labor supply and divorce: New evidence from Ireland," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1675-1691.
    6. 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.
    7. John M. Nunley & Richard Alan Seals Jr., 2011. "Child-Custody Reform and the Division of Labor in the Household," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2011-14, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
    8. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Jenna Stearns, 2016. "Family Inequality: Diverging Patterns in Marriage, Cohabitation, and Childbearing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 79-102, Spring.
    9. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio P., 2008. "How Unilateral Divorce Affects Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3342, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Reinhold, Steffen & Kneip, Thorsten & Bauer, Gerrit, 2011. "The Long Run Consequences of Unilateral Divorce Laws on Children –Evidence from SHARELIFE," MEA discussion paper series 11240, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    11. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Unilateral divorce versus child custody and child support in the U.S," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 613-643.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert A. Pollak, 2017. "How Bargaining in Marriage drives Marriage Market Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 24000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Robert A. Pollak, 2018. "How Bargaining in Marriage Drives Marriage Market Equilibrium," Working Papers 2018-004, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    divorce law; household bargaining; marriage;

    JEL classification:

    • 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

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