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

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  • 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
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    Cited by:

    1. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2017. "Unemployment, Marriage, and Divorce," MPRA Paper 80644, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    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. repec:kap:reveho:v:15:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11150-016-9329-x is not listed on IDEAS
    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 - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. repec:taf:apeclt:v:25:y:2018:i:1:p:51-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2014. "Club classification of US divorce rates," MPRA Paper 59440, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. 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.
    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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Divorce; Culture; Immigrants;

    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

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