IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/oxf/wpaper/495.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Does Culture Affect Divorce Decisions? Evidence from European Immigrants in the US

Author

Listed:
  • Almudena Sevilla-Sanz
  • Delia Furtado and Miriam Marcen

Abstract

This paper explores the role of culture in determining divorce decisions by examining differences in divorce rates by country of origin of immigrants in the United States. Because immigrants who arrived in the US at a young age are all exposed to a common set of American laws and institutions, we interpret cross-ancestry differences in divorce rates as evidence of the effect of culture. The quantitatively significant estimated effects of culture are robust to controlling for a large number of home country variables such as average church attendance and GDP. Supplemental analyses indicate that divorce culture has a stronger impact on the divorce decisions of females than of males pointing to a potentially gendered nature of divorce taboos. We also find that divorce tendencies are especially weak for immigrants from countries with low divorce rates that reside amidst a large number of co-ethnics, suggesting that culture is transmitted not only from parents to children but also within ethnic communities. Given the importance of divorce as a determinant of later outcomes in life, our findings imply that culture should be taken into consideration when formulating family policies.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:495
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:da9edb95-77aa-4c7b-89f5-34cf09e78db9
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Almudena Sevilla-Sanz, 2007. "Division of Household Labor and Cross-Country Differences in Household Formation Rates," Economics Series Working Papers 325, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Smith, Ian, 1997. "Explaining the Growth of Divorce in Great Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 44(5), pages 519-544, November.
    3. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2009. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 146-177, January.
    5. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli, 2006. "Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 552-561, 04-05.
    6. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Kevin Milligan, 2013. "Son Preference and the Persistence of Culture: Evidence from South and East Asian Immigrants to Canada," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 39(1), pages 75-95, March.
    7. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
    8. González, Libertad & Viitanen, Tarja K., 2009. "The effect of divorce laws on divorce rates in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 127-138, February.
    9. Evelyn Lehrer & Carmel Chiswick, 1993. "Religion as a determinant of marital stability," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 30(3), pages 385-404, August.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Alberto Bisin & Giorgio Topa & Thierry Verdier, 2004. "Religious Intermarriage and Socialization in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 615-664, June.
    13. Paola Giuliano, 2007. "Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 927-952, September.
    14. Jensen, Peter & Smith, Nina, 1990. "Unemployment and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 3(3), pages 215-229, October.
    15. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    16. Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1802-1820, December.
    17. Barry Chiswick & Christina Houseworth, 2011. "Ethnic intermarriage among immigrants: human capital and assortative mating," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 149-180, June.
    18. Alberto Chong & Eliana La Ferrara, 2009. "Television and Divorce: Evidence from Brazilian Novelas," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 458-468, 04-05.
    19. Sigve Tjøtta & Kjell Vaage, 2008. "Public transfers and marital dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(2), pages 419-437, April.
    20. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1019-1055.
    21. Delia Furtado & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos, 2011. "Interethnic marriage: a choice between ethnic and educational similarities," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(4), pages 1257-1279, October.
    22. Adam Isen & Betsey Stevenson, 2010. "Women's Education and Family Behavior: Trends in Marriage, Divorce and Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demography and the Economy, pages 107-140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Bradley T. Heim, 2003. "Does Child Support Enforcement Reduce Divorce Rates?: A Reexamination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(4).
    24. Michael Svarer & Mette Verner, 2008. "Do children stabilize relationships in Denmark?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(2), pages 395-417, April.
    25. Antecol, Heather, 2000. "An examination of cross-country differences in the gender gap in labor force participation rates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 409-426, July.
    26. Rene Boheim & John Ermisch, 2001. "Partnership Dissolution in the UK – the Role of Economic Circumstances," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(2), pages 197-208, May.
    27. Simon Burgess & Carol Propper & Arnstein Aassve, 2003. "The role of income in marriage and divorce transitions among young Americans," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 16(3), pages 455-475, August.
    28. 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.
    29. Evelyn Lehrer, 1996. "Religion as a determinant of marital fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(2), pages 173-196, June.
    30. Christopher D. Carroll & Byung-Kun Rhee & Changyong Rhee, 1994. "Are There Cultural Effects on Saving? Some Cross-Sectional Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 685-699.
    31. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Kevin Milligan, 2009. "O Sister, Where Art Thou? The Role of Son Preference and Sex Choice: Evidence from Immigrants to Canada," NBER Working Papers 15391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    32. Johnson, William R & Skinner, Jonathan, 1986. "Labor Supply and Marital Separation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 455-469, June.
    33. Allen, Douglas W., 1998. "No-fault divorce in Canada: Its cause and effect," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 129-149, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Rafael González-Val & Miriam Marcén, 2018. "Unemployment, marriage and divorce," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(13), pages 1495-1508, March.
    2. Chakraborty, Indraneel & Holter, Hans A. & Stepanchuk, Serhiy, 2015. "Marriage stability, taxation and aggregate labor supply in the U.S. vs. Europe," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 1-20.
    3. Rafael González-Val & Miriam Marcén, 2017. "Divorce and the business cycle: a cross-country analysis," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 879-904, September.
    4. Marcén, Miriam & Bellido, Héctor, 2013. "Teen Mothers and Culture," MPRA Paper 44712, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Stichnoth, Holger & Yeter, Mustafa, 2013. "Cultural influences on the fertility behaviour of first- and second-generation immigrants in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-023, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    6. Tarja Viitanen, 2014. "Parental divorce and other determinants of interpersonal trust: Evidence from HILDA panel data," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 17(1), pages 35-53.
    7. Hua Wang & J. Ignacio Gimenez-Nadal, 2018. "Teens and twenties: cultural and preferences differences in the uses of time in Spain," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(1), pages 51-55, January.
    8. Holger STICHNOTH & Mustafa YETER, 2016. "Cultural Influences on the Fertility Behavior of First- and Second-Generation Immigrants," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 281-314, September.
    9. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2014. "Club classification of US divorce rates," MPRA Paper 59440, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. L. Bottazzi & P. Manasse & S. G. See, 2017. "Better Wed Over the Mixen Than Over The Moor? Break-ups of Inter-Ethnic Marriages In Italy," Working Papers wp1098, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    11. Marcén, Miriam, 2013. "The effect of culture on self-employment," MPRA Paper 47338, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Breaks in the breaks: An analysis of divorce rates in Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 242-255.
    13. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Unilateral divorce versus child custody and child support in the U.S," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 613-643.
    14. Keller, Nicolas & Gathmann, Christina & Monscheuer, Ole, 2015. "Citizenship and the Social Integration of Immigrants: Evidence from Germany's Immigration Reforms," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113184, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Delia Furtado & Miriam Marcén & Almudena Sevilla, 2013. "Does Culture Affect Divorce? Evidence From European Immigrants in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(3), pages 1013-1038, June.
    2. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Unilateral divorce versus child custody and child support in the U.S," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 613-643.
    3. 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.
    4. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Breaks in the breaks: An analysis of divorce rates in Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 242-255.
    5. Miriam Marcén & Marina Morales, 2019. "Live together: does culture matter?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 671-713, June.
    6. Marcén, Miriam & Morales, Marina, 2017. "Remain single or live together: Does culture matter?," MPRA Paper 77623, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Natalia Nollenberger & Núria Rodríguez-Planas & Almudena Sevilla, 2016. "The Math Gender Gap: The Role of Culture," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 257-261, May.
    8. Alberto Alesina & Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & Paola Giuliano, 2015. "Family Values And The Regulation Of Labor," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 599-630, August.
    9. Marcén, Miriam, 2014. "The role of culture on self-employment," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 44(S1), pages 20-32.
    10. 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.
    11. John Douglas Skåtun, 2017. "Bargaining on your Spouse: Coasean and Non-Coasean Behaviour Within Marriage," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 263-278, June.
    12. Davoli, Maddalena & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2020. "Culture and adult financial literacy: Evidence from the United States," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    13. Raquel Fernandez, 2007. "Women, Work, and Culture," NBER Working Papers 12888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Rodríguez-Planas, Núria & Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna, 2016. "Social Norms and Teenage Smoking: The Dark Side of Gender Equality," IZA Discussion Papers 10134, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Sonia Oreffice, 2014. "Culture and Household Decision Making. Balance of Power and Labor Supply Choices of US-Born and Foreign-Born Couples," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 162-184, June.
    16. Hiller, Victor & Recoules, Magali, 2013. "Changes in divorce patterns: Culture and the law," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 77-87.
    17. Rafael González-Val & Miriam Marcén, 2017. "Divorce and the business cycle: a cross-country analysis," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 879-904, September.
    18. Rodríguez-Planas, Núria & Nollenberger, Natalia, 2018. "Let the girls learn! It is not only about math … it's about gender social norms," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 230-253.
    19. Fernández, Raquel, 2007. "Women, Work and Culture," CEPR Discussion Papers 6153, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Valerio Filoso, 2009. "Divorce And The Option Value Of Marital Search," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 119-149, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Divorce; Culture; Immigrants;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:495. 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: (Anne Pouliquen) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Anne Pouliquen to update the entry or send us the correct email address. General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/sfeixuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.