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Less Alimony after Divorce: Spouses' Behavioral Response to the 2008 Alimony Reform in Germany

Author

Listed:
  • Bredtmann, Julia

    () (RWI)

  • Vonnahme, Christina

    () (RWI)

Abstract

The 2008 alimony reform in Germany considerably reduced post-marital and caregiver alimony. We analyze how individuals adapted to these changed rulings in terms of labor supply, the intra-household allocation of leisure, and marital stability. We use the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and conduct a difference-in-difference analysis to investigate couples' behavioral responses to the reform. The results do not confirm theoretical expectations from labor supply and household bargaining models. In particular, we do not find evidence that women increase their labor supply as a result of the negative expected income effect. Neither do our results reveal that leisure is shifted from women to men as a response to the changed bargaining positions. In contrast, we find evidence that the reform has led to an increase in the probability to separate for married as opposed to non-married cohabiting couples.

Suggested Citation

  • Bredtmann, Julia & Vonnahme, Christina, 2017. "Less Alimony after Divorce: Spouses' Behavioral Response to the 2008 Alimony Reform in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 10864, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10864
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jochen Kluve & Marcus Tamm, 2013. "Parental leave regulations, mothers’ labor force attachment and fathers’ childcare involvement: evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 983-1005, July.
    3. Matthias Fahn & Ray Rees & Amelie Wuppermann, 2016. "Relational contracts for household formation, fertility choice and separation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(2), pages 421-455, April.
    4. 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.
    5. Gronau, Reuben, 1977. "Leisure, Home Production, and Work-The Theory of the Allocation of Time Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1099-1123, December.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. repec:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:604:p:1874-1905 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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.
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    11. Pierre‐Andre Chiappori & Murat Iyigun & Jeanne Lafortune & Yoram Weiss, 2017. "Changing the Rules Midway: The Impact of Granting Alimony Rights on Existing and Newly Formed Partnerships," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 1874-1905, September.
    12. 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.
    13. Pierre-Andre CHIAPPORI & Murat IYIGUN & Yoram WEISS, 2015. "The Becker-Coase Theorem Reconsidered," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(2), pages 157-177, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schaubert, Marianna, 2018. "Do Alimony Regulations Matter inside Marriage? Evidence from the 2008 Reform of the German Maintenance Law," EconStor Preprints 173193, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    alimony; marital instability; female labor supply; intra-household bargaining;

    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
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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