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The Consequences of Extending Equitable Property Division Divorce Laws to Cohabitants

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  • Chigavazira, Abraham

    () (University of Melbourne)

  • Fisher, Hayley

    () (University of Sydney)

  • Robinson, Tim

    (Life Course Centre)

  • Zhu, Anna

    () (RMIT University)

Abstract

This paper analyses the effect of extending equitable property division divorce laws to unmarried cohabiting couples in Australia. Using a triple-difference fixed effects approach we show that existing couples are more likely to make relationshipspecific investments after being exposed to laws enabling the equitable redistribution of property in the event of relationship breakdown. In affected couples we find that men increase their employment and women increase time spent on housework. Couples have more children and are more likely to become home owners. These results demonstrate the causal effect of property division laws on relationship-specific investments and inform the ongoing international debate about the appropriate legal treatment of unmarried cohabiting couples.

Suggested Citation

  • Chigavazira, Abraham & Fisher, Hayley & Robinson, Tim & Zhu, Anna, 2019. "The Consequences of Extending Equitable Property Division Divorce Laws to Cohabitants," IZA Discussion Papers 12102, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12102
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeanne Lafortune & Corinne Low, 2020. "Collateralized Marriage," NBER Working Papers 27210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hill Kulu & Júlia Mikolai & Michael J. Thomas & Sergi Vidal & Christine Schnor & Didier Willaert & Fieke H. L. Visser & Clara H. Mulder, 0. "Separation and Elevated Residential Mobility: A Cross-Country Comparison," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 0, pages 1-30.
    3. Fabio Blasutto & Egor Kozlov, 2020. "(Changing) Marriage and Cohabitation Patterns in the US: do Divorce Laws Matter?," 2020 Papers pbl245, Job Market Papers.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cohabitation; divorce; property; division; household behavior;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law

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