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Divorce decisions, divorce laws and social norms

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Abstract

This article focuses on the three way relationship between change in divorce law, evolution of divorce rate and evolution of the cultural acceptance of divorce. We consider a heterogeneous population in which individuals differ in terms of the subjective loss they suffer when divorced, this loss being associated with stigmatizing social norms. The proportion of each type of individual evolves endogenously through a cultural transmission process. Divorce law is chosen by majority voting between two alternatives: mutual consent and unilateral divorce. In this framework, evolutions of divorce rate and divorce law may be jointly affected by the cultural dynamics within the society. In particular, we are able to reproduce the fact that divorce rate often raises before a legislation change. Indeed, the shift from consensual to unilateral divorce has an accelerating effect on the increase in divorce rate but is not the driving force behind this evolution

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  • Victor Hiller & Magali Recoules, 2010. "Divorce decisions, divorce laws and social norms," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 10046, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:10046
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    File URL: ftp://mse.univ-paris1.fr/pub/mse/CES2010/10046.pdf
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    1. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 267-288.
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    Cited by:

    1. David De La Croix & Fabio Mariani, 2015. "From Polygyny to Serial Monogamy: A Unified Theory of Marriage Institutions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 565-607.
    2. Bargain, Olivier & González, Libertad & Keane, Claire & Özcan, Berkay, 2012. "Female labor supply and divorce: New evidence from Ireland," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1675-1691.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage and divorce; divorce legislation; cultural evolution; social norms;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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