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The Effect of Joint Custody on Marriage and Divorce

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  • Martin Halla

Abstract

Since the 1970s almost all states have introduced a form of joint custody after divorce. We analyze the causal effect of these custody law reforms on the incidence of marriage and divorce. Our identification strategy exploits the different timing of reforms across states and the control group of divorcing couples without minors. Estimations based on state panel data suggest that the introduction of joint custody led to a long-run increase in marriage rates. There is no convincing evidence for an impact of joint custody on divorce rates. In sum, joint custody has increased the stock of married people and dampened the persistent downturn in marriage. Our empirical evidence is fully consistent with the supposition that these additional marriages are the result of an increased incentive of men to marry.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2009_09
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    Cited by:

    1. Elaina Rose & Ho-Po Crystal Wong, 2014. "But Who Will Get Billy? The Effect of Child Custody Laws on Marriage," Working Papers 14-30, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    2. Almudena Sevilla-Sanz & Delia Furtado and Miriam Marcen, 2010. "Does Culture Affect Divorce Decisions? Evidence from European Immigrants in the US," Economics Series Working Papers 495, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Rose, Elaina & Wong, Crystal (Ho Po), 2014. "But Who Will Get Billy? The Effect of Child Custody Laws on Marriage," IZA Discussion Papers 8611, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Fisher, H., 2011. "Divorce Property Division and the Decision to Marry or Cohabit," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1101, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    5. Duha T. Altindag & John Nunley & Alan Seals, 2017. "Child-custody reform and the division of labor in the household," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 833-856, September.
    6. 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.
    7. Ho-Po Crystal Wong, 2014. "The Importance of Credible Commitments in Marriage: The Effect of Recognizing Homemakers’ Contribution in Property Division at Divorce in Law on Marital Formation and Dissolution," Working Papers 14-32, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Joint custody; marriage; divorce; family law; marital-specific investment;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis

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