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Divorce Law and Women's Labor Supply

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  • Betsey Stevenson

Abstract

Divorce law changes made in the 1970s affected marital formation, dissolution, and bargaining within marriage. By altering the terms of the marital contract these legal changes impacted the incentives for women to enter and remain in the labor force. Whereas earlier work had suggested that the impact of unilateral divorce on female employment depended critically on laws governing property division, I show that these results are not robust to alternative specifications and controls. I find instead that unilateral divorce led to an increase in both married and unmarried female labor force participation, regardless of the pre-existing laws regarding property division.

Suggested Citation

  • Betsey Stevenson, 2008. "Divorce Law and Women's Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 14346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14346
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Betsey Stevenson, 2007. "The Impact of Divorce Laws on Marriage-Specific Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 75-94.
    2. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-454, June.
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    7. Parkman, Allen M, 1992. "Unilateral Divorce and the Labor-Force Participation Rate of Married Women, Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 671-678, June.
    8. Shelly Lundberg & Elaina Rose, 1998. "The Determinants of Specialization Within Marriage," Working Papers 0048, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

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