Unilateral Divorce, Assortative Mating, and Household Income Inequality

66 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2020 Last revised: 29 Sep 2022

See all articles by Sitian Liu

Sitian Liu

Queen's University - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 28, 2022


This paper examines how the introduction of unilateral divorce affects assortative mating and household income inequality across newly married couples. I exploit variation in the adoption and timing of unilateral divorce laws using three different empirical methods. I find that unilateral divorce increases income inequality by 3.5--16%. This is likely driven by increased assortative mating---unilateral divorce moderately increases educational sorting and substantially increases income sorting. The increased assortative mating could be partially driven by reduced marriage entry among college graduates 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 (September 28, 2022). 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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