The Economic Consequences of Unilateral Divorce for Children

University of Illinois CBA Office of Research Working Paper 00-0112

42 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2000

Date Written: July 2000

Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on the economic consequences of unilateral divorce laws on the future labor market outcomes of children. Using a cohort of young adults from the 1990 census, we examine the effect of living in a unilateral divorce state as a child on education, earnings, and marital status. Women with many years of childhood exposure to unilateral divorce laws have lower wages and have completed less schooling. However, there is no statistically significant effect of unilateral divorce exposure on men's wages. Both women and men are more likely to marry and less likely to get divorced with more years of exposure to unilateral divorce as a child. We also explore alternative mechanisms through which unilateral divorce laws can affect children's outcomes. The evidence suggests that while divorce rates did increase significantly as a result of the laws, bargaining power within the household is also an important factor driving our results.

Keywords: divorce, children, family economics

JEL Classification: J12, J13

Suggested Citation

Johnson, John H. and Mazingo, Christopher J., The Economic Consequences of Unilateral Divorce for Children (July 2000). University of Illinois CBA Office of Research Working Paper 00-0112, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=236227 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.236227

John H. Johnson (Contact Author)

Edgeworth Economics ( email )

1111 19th Street NW
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.edgewortheconomics.com

Christopher J. Mazingo

Dean & Company

8065 Leesburg Pike, Suite 500
Vienna, VA 22182
United States

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