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Divorce laws and fertility decisions

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  • Bellido, Héctor
  • Marcén, Miriam

Abstract

This paper explores the effect of divorce law reform on fertility. By modifying the value of marriage, the adoption of no-fault and unilateral divorce may impact fertility decisions. To identify the effects of those reforms on fertility, we use a quasi experiment exploiting the legislative history of divorce liberalization across Europe. Results suggest that divorce law reforms have a negative and permanent effect on fertility. These findings are robust to alternative specifications and controls for unobserved country-specific factors, time-varying factors at the country level, the liberalization of abortion, and the availability of the birth-control pill. Supplemental analysis, developed to understand the mechanisms through which divorce law reforms affect fertility, shows that both marital and out-of-wedlock fertility declines, but that the impact on marital fertility varies depending on whether couples are married prior to or after divorce law reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Bellido, Héctor & Marcén, Miriam, 2011. "Divorce laws and fertility decisions," MPRA Paper 30243, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:30243
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Fahn & Ray Rees & Amelie Wuppermann, 2016. "Relational contracts for household formation, fertility choice and separation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(2), pages 421-455, April.
    2. Matthias Fahn & Ray Rees, 2011. "Household Relational Contracts for Marriage, Fertility and Divorce," CESifo Working Paper Series 3655, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. 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.
    4. Fahn, Matthias, 2011. "Three Essays on Commitment and Information Problems," Munich Dissertations in Economics 13750, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility Rate; Divorce Law; Abortion Law; Oral Contraception;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law

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