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Does Community Property Discourage Unpartnered Births?

Author

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  • Ekert-Jaffe, Olivia

    () (INED, France)

  • Grossbard, Shoshana

    () (San Diego State University)

Abstract

This paper investigates the likelihood of an unpartnered birth as a function of laws regulating the division of joint property in case of divorce. Based on a rational choice model of marriage and assuming that on average women earn less than men, we predict that women are less likely to have an unpartnered birth when rules for the division of joint property are more advantageous to spouses with lower earnings. We derive more predictions regarding the effects of age, non-intact home, and religiosity, and the interaction between these variables and legal regime regarding divorce. We test our predictions with retrospective data from the Family Fertility Surveys collected in the 1990s. Most of our predictions are confirmed by a multi-country analysis for 17 legal regimes in 12 Western countries as well as single-country analyses for four countries. The results confirm most of our predictions. Our major findings are that the likelihood of an unpartnered birth is higher in countries that offer most women less access to joint property in case of divorce, and that this effect is weaker for teenagers than for women in their twenties.

Suggested Citation

  • Ekert-Jaffe, Olivia & Grossbard, Shoshana, 2007. "Does Community Property Discourage Unpartnered Births?," IZA Discussion Papers 2816, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2816
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ekert-Jaffe, Olivia & Solaz, Anne, 2001. "Unemployment, marriage, and cohabitation in France," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 75-98, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jirjahn, Uwe & Struewing, Cornelia, 2016. "Risk Attitude and Nonmarital Birth," IZA Discussion Papers 10316, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Alessandro Cigno, 2012. "Marriage as a commitment device," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 193-213, June.
    3. repec:kap:reveho:v:15:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11150-015-9307-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Shoshana Grossbard & Victoria Vernon, 2017. "Common Law Marriage and Teen Births," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 129-145, March.
    5. Shoshana Grossbard & Victoria Vernon, 2014. "Common law marriage and couple formation," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-26, December.
    6. Grossbard, Shoshana & Vernon, Victoria, 2014. "Common Law Marriage and Male/Female Convergence in Labor Supply and Time Use," IZA Discussion Papers 7937, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Grossbard, Shoshana, 2016. "Marriage and Marriage Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 10312, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Carmen Deere & Abena Oduro & Hema Swaminathan & Cheryl Doss, 2013. "Property rights and the gender distribution of wealth in Ecuador, Ghana and India," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 11(2), pages 249-265, June.
    9. Hazem Alshaikhmubarak & R. Richard Geddes & Shoshana Amyra Grossbard, 2017. "Single Motherhood and the Abolition of Coverture in the United States," CESifo Working Paper Series 6471, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:163-67 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    joint marital property; divorce laws; fertility; cohabitation; out-of-wedlock; unpartnered births;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • K3 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law

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