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The Long Term Effects of Legalizing Divorce on Children

  • Libertad Gonzalez


    (Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • Tarja Viitanen


    (Department of Economics, University of Otago)

We estimate the effect of divorce legalization on the long-term well-being of children. Our identification strategy relies on exploiting the different timing of divorce legalization across European countries. Using European Community Household Panel data, we compare the adult outcomes of cohorts who were raised in an environment where divorce was banned with cohorts raised after divorce was legalized in the same country. We also have "control" countries where all cohorts were exposed (or not exposed) to divorce as children, thus leading to a difference-in-differences approach. We find that women who grew up under legal divorce have lower earnings and income as well as worse health as adults compared with women who grew up under illegal divorce. These effects are not found for men. We find no effects of divorce legalization on childrenÕs family formation or dissolution patterns.

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Paper provided by University of Otago, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0901.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision: Jan 2009
Handle: RePEc:otg:wpaper:0901
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  1. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 7666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kevin Lang & Jay L. Zagorsky, 2001. "Does Growing up with a Parent Absent Really Hurt?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 253-273.
  3. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2005. "Do Divorcing Couples Become Happier By Breaking Up?," IZA Discussion Papers 1788, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Betsey Stevenson, 2006. "The impact of divorce laws on marriage-specific capital," Working Paper Series 2006-43, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Katie R. Genadek & Wendy A. Stock & Christiana Stoddard, 2007. "No-Fault Divorce Laws and the Labor Supply of Women with and without Children," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
  7. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy, 2001. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation and Household Labor Supply," Cahiers de recherche 0103, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  8. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio P., 2008. "How Unilateral Divorce Affects Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3342, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Demand for Sons: Evidence from Divorce, Fertility, and Shotgun Marriage," NBER Working Papers 10281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Corak, Miles, 2001. "Death and Divorce: The Long-Term Consequences of Parental Loss on Adolescents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 682-715, July.
  11. Libertad González Luna & Berkay Özcan, 2008. "The risk of divorce and household saving behavior," Economics Working Papers 1111, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  12. Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," NBER Working Papers 7968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Betsey Stevenson, 2008. "Divorce Law and Women's Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 14346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Esther Duflo, 2003. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 1-25, June.
  16. Berger, Lawrence & Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne & Paxson, Christina & Waldfogel, Jane, 2008. "First-year maternal employment and child outcomes: Differences across racial and ethnic groups," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 365-387, April.
  17. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
  18. Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna & Vuri, Daniela, 2004. "Does Parental Divorce Affect Adolescents' Cognitive Development? Evidence from Longitudinal Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1206, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. repec:oup:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:1:p:267-288 is not listed on IDEAS
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