No-Fault Divorce and the Compression of Marriage Ages

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Douglas W. Allen

Douglas W. Allen

Simon Fraser University

Krishna Pendakur

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Economics

Wing Suen

The University of Hong Kong - School of Economics and Finance

Date Written: July 2006

Abstract

We examine how no-fault divorce law affects the age at first marriage, when everyone has a different value of marriage. The heterogeneity of individual values implies an unambiguous negative effect on the variance of marriage age. We test this hypothesis with marriage records from 1970 to 1995. Controlling for state-level heterogeneity and for time trends, the standard deviation of the log age at first marriage drops by approximately 5% with the introduction of no-fault divorce. We find that the mean age at first marriage increases slightly, suggesting that the mean person is slightly worse off with no-fault divorce. (JEL K0, D1)

Suggested Citation

Allen, Douglas W. and Pendakur, Krishna and Suen, Wing C., No-Fault Divorce and the Compression of Marriage Ages (July 2006). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 44, Issue 3, pp. 547-558, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1095596 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ei/cbj030

Douglas W. Allen (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University ( email )

8888 University Drive
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Canada
604-291-3445 (Phone)
604-291-5944 (Fax)

Krishna Pendakur

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Economics ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Wing C. Suen

The University of Hong Kong - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

8th Floor Kennedy Town Centre
23 Belcher's Street
Kennedy Town
Hong Kong
852 2859 1052 (Phone)
852 2548 1152 (Fax)

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