Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce
Most states in the U.S. allow for unilateral divorce, which increases the ease of divorce by not requiring the explicit consent of both partners. Such regulations have come under fire for their perceived negative consequences for marital stability and resulting child outcomes, but there is no evidence to date to support the contention that easier divorce regulations are actually bad for children. I assess the long run implications for children of growing up in a unilateral divorce environment, by measuring how such youth exposure affects adult outcomes. Using 40 years of census data to exploit the variation across states and over time in changes in divorce regulation, I confirm that unilateral divorce regulations do significantly increase the incidence of divorce. I also find that adults who were exposed to unilateral divorce regulations as children are less well educated and have lower family incomes. They are also more likely themselves to be both married and separated, and both of these effects appear to reflect primarily a shift towards earlier marriage and separation. Women in these exposed cohorts are less attached to the labor force, while men are somewhat more attached; the timing of these effects appears consistent with a causal role for marriage. Thus, exposure to easier divorce regulation as a youth appears to worsen adult outcomes along a number of dimensions, but the ultimate implications depend on the long run impacts of earlier family formation among this cohort.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2000|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Gruber, Jonathan. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad For Children? The Long-Run Implications Of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, 2004, v22(4,Oct), 799-833.|
|Note:||LS CH PE|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- 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.
- Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Spiros Bougheas & Yannis Georgellis, .
"The Effect of Divorce Costs on Marriage Formation and Dissolution,"
Economics and Finance Discussion Papers
97-05, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
- Spiros Bougheas & Yannis Georgellis, 1999. "The effect of divorce costs on marriage formation and dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 489-498.
- Sheila Krein & Andrea Beller, 1988. "Educational attainment of children from single-parent families: Differences by exposure, gender, and race," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 221-234, May.
- Allen, Douglas W, 1992. "Marriage and Divorce: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 679-85, June.
- Gray, Jeffrey S, 1998. "Divorce-Law Changes, Household Bargaining, and Married Women's Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 628-42, June.
- Peters, H Elizabeth, 1992. "Marriage and Divorce: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 687-93, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7968. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.