IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Does Culture Affect Divorce Decisions? Evidence from European Immigrants in the US

  • Furtado, Delia


    (University of Connecticut)

  • Marcén, Miriam


    (University of Zaragoza)

  • Sevilla, Almudena


    (Queen Mary, University of London)

This paper explores the role of culture in determining divorce decisions by examining country of origin differences in divorce rates of immigrants in the United States. Because childhood-arriving immigrants are all exposed to a common set of US laws and institutions, we interpret relationships between their divorce tendencies and home country divorce rates as evidence of the effect of culture. Our results are robust to controlling for several home country variables including average church attendance and GDP. Moreover, specifications with country of origin fixed effects suggest that divorce probabilities are especially low for immigrants from countries with low divorce rates that reside amidst a large number of co-ethnics. Supplemental analyses indicate that divorce culture has a stronger impact on the divorce decisions of females than of males pointing to a potentially gendered nature of divorce taboos.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5960.

in new window

Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Demography, 2013, 50 (3), 1013-1038
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5960
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Allen, Douglas W., 1998. "No-fault divorce in Canada: Its cause and effect," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 129-149, October.
  2. Lehrer, Evelyn L, 1996. "Religion as a Determinant of Marital Fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 173-96, May.
  3. Boheim, Rene & Ermisch, John, 2001. " Partnership Dissolution in the UK--The Role of Economic Circumstances," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(2), pages 197-208, May.
  4. Michael Svarer & Mette Verner, 2008. "Do children stabilize relationships in Denmark?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 395-417, April.
  5. Chiswick, Barry R. & Houseworth, Christina A., 2010. "Ethnic Intermarriage among Immigrants: Human Capital and Assortative Mating," SULCIS Working Papers 2010:8, Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS.
  6. Alberto Chong & Eliana La Ferrara, 2009. "Television and Divorce: Evidence from Brazilian Novelas," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 458-468, 04-05.
  7. Evelyn Lehrer & Carmel Chiswick, 1993. "Religion as a determinant of marital stability," Demography, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 385-404, August.
  8. 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.
  9. Giuliano, Paola, 2006. "Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 2042, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Simon Burgess & Carol Propper & Arnstein Aassve, 2003. "The role of income in marriage and divorce transitions among young Americans," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 455-475, 08.
  11. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-54, June.
  12. Libertad González Luna & Tarja K. Viitanen, 2006. "The effect of divorce laws on divorce rates in Europe," Economics Working Papers 986, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  13. Fernández, Raquel & Fogli, Alessandra, 2005. "Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 5221, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Johnson, William R & Skinner, Jonathan, 1986. "Labor Supply and Marital Separation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 455-69, June.
  15. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2010. "Unilateral Divorce vs. Child Custody and Child Support in the U.S," MPRA Paper 24695, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Alberto Bisin & Giorgio Topa & Thierry Verdier, 2004. "Religious Intermarriage and Socialization in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 615-664, June.
  18. Bradley T. Heim, 2003. "Does Child Support Enforcement Reduce Divorce Rates?: A Reexamination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(4).
  19. Raquel Fernandez & Alessandra Fogli, 2005. "Culture: an empirical investigation of beliefs, work, and fertility," Staff Report 361, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  20. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Kevin Milligan, 2013. "Son Preference and the Persistence of Culture: Evidence from South and East Asian Immigrants to Canada," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 39(1), pages 75-95, 03.
  21. Martin Halla, 2009. "The Effect of Joint Custody on Marriage and Divorce," Economics working papers 2009-09, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  22. Carroll, Christopher D & Rhee, Byung-Kun & Rhee, Changyong, 1994. "Are There Cultural Effects on Saving? Some Cross-Sectional Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 685-99, August.
  23. Jensen, Peter & Smith, Nina, 1990. "Unemployment and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 215-29, October.
  24. Tjøtta, Sigve & Vaage, Kjell, 2002. "Public Transfers and Marital Dissolution," Working Papers in Economics 08/02, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  25. Smith, Ian, 1997. "Explaining the Growth of Divorce in Great Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 44(5), pages 519-44, November.
  26. Furtado, Delia & Theodoropoulos, Nikolaos, 2008. "Interethnic Marriage: A Choice between Ethnic and Educational Similarities," IZA Discussion Papers 3448, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  27. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Kevin Milligan, 2009. "O Sister, Where Art Thou? The Role of Son Preference and Sex Choice: Evidence from Immigrants to Canada," NBER Working Papers 15391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Almudena Sevilla-Sanz, 2007. "Division of Household Labor and Cross-Country Differences in Household Formation Rates," Economics Series Working Papers 325, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  29. Antecol, Heather, 2000. "An examination of cross-country differences in the gender gap in labor force participation rates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 409-426, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5960. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.