The Consequences of Extending Equitable Property Division Divorce Laws to Cohabitants

30 Pages Posted: 6 May 2019

See all articles by Abraham Chigavazira

Abraham Chigavazira

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Hayley Fisher

The University of Sydney

Tim Robinson

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Anna Zhu

RMIT University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 1, 2019

Abstract

This paper analyses the effect of extending equitable property division divorce laws to unmarried cohabiting couples in Australia. Using a triple-difference fixed effects approach we show that existing couples are more likely to make relationship-specific investments after being exposed to laws enabling the equitable redistribution of property in the event of relationship breakdown. In affected couples we find that men increase their employment and women increase time spent on housework. Couples have more children and are more likely to become homeowners. These results demonstrate the causal effect of property division laws on relationship-specific investments and inform the ongoing international debate about the appropriate legal treatment of unmarried cohabiting couples.

Keywords: divorce law, cohabitation, relationship-specific investments, HILDA Survey

JEL Classification: J12, K36

Suggested Citation

Chigavazira, Abraham and Fisher, Hayley and Robinson, Tim and Zhu, Anna, The Consequences of Extending Equitable Property Division Divorce Laws to Cohabitants (March 1, 2019). Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 03/19, March 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3383238 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3383238

Abraham Chigavazira

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Hayley Fisher

The University of Sydney ( email )

Tim Robinson (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
161 Barry Street
Carlton, VIC 3053
Australia

Anna Zhu

RMIT University ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000
Australia

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