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How Unilateral Divorce Affects Children

Author

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  • Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio

    () (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

  • Giolito, Eugenio

    () (Universidad Alberto Hurtado)

Abstract

Using U.S. Census data for the years 1960-1980, we study the impact of unilateral divorce on outcomes of children (age 6-15) and their mothers. We find that the reform increased mothers’ divorce, decreased family income and increased the fraction of mothers below the poverty line. For children, we find not only negative results on investment, measured as the probability that a child goes to a private school, but also on child outcomes, measured by the likelihood of children aged 0-4 being held back in school at the time of the reform. We then analyze outcomes of the same cohorts of children 10 years later, by studying young men and women aged 16-25 using the 1970-1990 U.S. Census. We find an increase in marginality for these cohorts, measured as the probability of living in an institution (men) or the probability of being below the poverty line (women). We find that the impact in outcomes is particularly important for black children and young adults.

Suggested Citation

  • Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio, 2008. "How Unilateral Divorce Affects Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3342, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3342
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    13. Manski, C.F. & Sandefur, G.D. & Mclanahan, S. & Powers, D., 1990. "Alternative Estimates Of The Effect Of Family Stucture During Adolescence On Hight School Graduation," Working papers 90-31, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fernández-Kranz, Daniel & Roff, Jennifer Louise & Sun, Hugette, 2018. "Can Reduced Child Support Make Joint Custody Bad for Children? The Role of Economic Incentives in U.S. Divorce Law on Child Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 12025, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Wolfgang Frimmel & Martin Halla & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2016. "How Does Parental Divorce Affect Children's Long-term Outcomes?," Working Papers 2016-13, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    3. 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.
    4. Martin Halla, 2009. "The Effect of Joint Custody on Marriage and Divorce," NRN working papers 2009-09, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    5. 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.
    6. Libertad González Luna & Tarja Viitanen, 2008. "The long term effects of legalizing divorce on children," Economics Working Papers 1122, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    7. Jeanne Lafortune & Corinne Low, 2017. "Betting the House: How Assets Influence Marriage Selection, Marital Stability, and Child Investments," Documentos de Trabajo 497, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    8. 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.
    9. Bellido, Héctor & Molina, José Alberto & Solaz, Anne & Stancanelli, Elena, 2016. "Do children of the first marriage deter divorce?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 15-31.
    10. Shen, Danqing, 2018. "Marriage, Divorce and Sorting: A Reassessment of Unilateral Divorce Laws," MPRA Paper 92848, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Elizabeth Horner, 2014. "Continued Pursuit of Happily Ever After: Low Barriers to Divorce and Happiness," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 228-240, June.
    12. Amanda Gosling & Maria D. C. Garcia-Alonso, 2015. "Endogenous divorce and human capital production," Studies in Economics 1521, School of Economics, University of Kent.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unilateral divorce; child outcomes;

    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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