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Divorce and the Option Value of Marital Search

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  • VALERIO FILOSO

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Abstract

This works tests whether or not the introduction of divorce law changes the timing of marital search. Common sense suggests that rational agents should adjust to the divorce risk by increasing the average length of search spell, whereas the option value theory stresses the role played by irreversible investments: in this case, the new exit option available to married partners should result in shorter search spells. Using a dynamic model of marital search, a new dataset of retrospective individual Italian data, and two robust statistical specifications based upon the Before-After estimator, we find strong evidence that the legal innovation actually lowered the age at marriage, thereby worsening the level of marital matching, and possibly reinforcing self-fulfilling prophecies of divorce.

Suggested Citation

  • Valerio Filoso, 2007. "Divorce and the Option Value of Marital Search," CHILD Working Papers wp03_07, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpc:wplist:wp03_07
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    File URL: http://www.child.carloalberto.org/images/wp/child03_2007.pdf
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    1. Weiss, Yoram, 1993. "The formation and dissolution of families: Why marry? Who marries whom? And what happens upon divorce," Handbook of Population and Family Economics,in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 81-123 Elsevier.
    2. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1997. "Match Quality, New Information, and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 293-329, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marital Search; Divorce; Marriag;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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