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The long term effects of legalizing divorce on children

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Abstract

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 children’s family formation or dissolution patterns.

Suggested Citation

  • Libertad González Luna & Tarja Viitanen, 2008. "The long term effects of legalizing divorce on children," Economics Working Papers 1122, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1122
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Betsey Stevenson, 2007. "The Impact of Divorce Laws on Marriage-Specific Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 75-94.
    2. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Sgroi, Daniel & Proto, Eugenio & Oswald, Andrew J., 2010. "Are Happiness and Productivity Lower among University Students with Newly-Divorced Parents? An Experimental Approach," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 937, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    3. Steffen Reinhold & Thorsten Kneip & Gerrit Bauer, 2013. "The long run consequences of unilateral divorce laws on children—evidence from SHARELIFE," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 1035-1056, July.
    4. Schaubert, Marianna, 2018. "Do Alimony Regulations Matter inside Marriage? Evidence from the 2008 Reform of the German Maintenance Law," EconStor Preprints 173193, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    5. Eugenio Proto & Daniel Sgroi & Andrew Oswald, 2012. "Are happiness and productivity lower among young people with newly-divorced parents? An experimental and econometric approach," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(1), pages 1-23, March.
    6. Viitanen, Tarja, 2011. "Parental Divorce and Generalized Trust," IZA Discussion Papers 5898, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Divorce; legislation; intergenerational effects; child outcomes;

    JEL classification:

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

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