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Divorce Laws, Sex Ratios and the Marriage Market


  • Brishti Guha

    () (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)


I show how an interaction between the imbalance of the sex ratio and the jump in divorce rates after a liberalization in divorce laws can obtain in a model of marriage market matching with non-transferable utility. If sex ratios are more unbalanced, the size of the jump in divorce rates following a transition from mutual consent to unilateral divorce will be larger. This works through two interacting sources of asymmetry, the first in remarriage odds between the sexes, the second in the impact of divorce law regime on the ease of obtaining a divorce.

Suggested Citation

  • Brishti Guha, 2012. "Divorce Laws, Sex Ratios and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 19-2012, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:19-2012

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Josh Angrist, 2002. "How Do Sex Ratios Affect Marriage and Labor Markets? Evidence from America's Second Generation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 997-1038.
    3. Jeanne Lafortune, 2013. "Making Yourself Attractive: Pre-marital Investments and the Returns to Education in the Marriage Market," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 151-178, April.
    4. 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.
    5. Clark, Simon, 1999. "Law, Property, and Marital Dissolution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages 41-54, March.
    6. Giulio Fella & Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2004. "Does Divorce Law Matter?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 607-633, June.
    7. Cigno, Alessandro, 2009. "What's the Use of Marriage?," IZA Discussion Papers 4635, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1992. "Marriage and Divorce: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 687-693, June.
    9. Lena Edlund, 1999. "Son Preference, Sex Rations, and Marriage Patterns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1275-1304, December.
    10. Imran Rasul, 2006. "Marriage Markets and Divorce Laws," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 30-69, April.
    11. Sudeshna Maitra, 2006. "Population Growth and Rising Dowries: The Long-Run Mechanism of a Marriage Squeeze," Working Papers 2006_9, York University, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item


    Divorce; sex ratios; marriage market; imbalance; matching; non-transferable utility.;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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