Unilateral Divorce, Assortative Mating, and Household Income Inequality

58 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2020 Last revised: 30 Jul 2021

See all articles by Sitian Liu

Sitian Liu

Queen's University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 14, 2020


This paper examines how unilateral divorce affects assortative mating, and household income inequality across newly married couples as a result of changes in the matching patterns. I exploit variation in the adoption and timing of unilateral divorce laws using three estimators---the two-way fixed effects, DID_M, and synthetic control estimators. I find that unilateral divorce increases income inequality by 6–20%. This is likely driven by increased assortative mating---unilateral divorce moderately increases educational sorting and substantially increases income sorting. This is partially driven by reduced marriage entry and changes in women’s labor force participation at the time of marriage.

Keywords: Divorce Law, Unilateral Divorce, Marriage Market, Assortative Mating, Household Income Inequality

JEL Classification: J12, K36

Suggested Citation

Liu, Sitian, Unilateral Divorce, Assortative Mating, and Household Income Inequality (May 14, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3601275 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3601275

Sitian Liu (Contact Author)

Queen's University - Department of Economics ( email )

94 University Avenue
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6

HOME PAGE: http://www.sitian-liu.com

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