The California Effect: The Challenges of Identifying the Impact of Social Policies during an Era of Social Change

77 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2024

See all articles by Lauren Hoehn-Velasco

Lauren Hoehn-Velasco

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Jacob Penglase

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

Michael Pesko

University of Missouri - Department of Economics

Hasan Shahid

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 22, 2024

Abstract

This paper reexamines the role of social policy in the doubling of divorce rates. We demonstrate that the short-run rise in divorce rates formerly attributed to unilateral divorce solely depends on the state of California. California receives considerable weight in national analyses and adopted several policies simultaneously. When we examine the independent effects of these social policies, we find that legal abortion leads to a clear and immediate rise in divorce rates. However, legal abortion's impact also hinges on California and may be contaminated by concurrently adopted policies. We then demonstrate that California's influence extends to the broader unilateral divorce literature. We conclude by describing best practices to confront the challenges of simultaneous policy adoption.

Keywords: Marriage and divorce, abortion, legal abortion, divorce legislation, no-fault divorce.

JEL Classification: J12, J13, I18, K38, K36

Suggested Citation

Hoehn-Velasco, Lauren and Penglase, Jacob and Pesko, Michael and Shahid, Hasan, The California Effect: The Challenges of Identifying the Impact of Social Policies during an Era of Social Change (April 22, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4802701 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4802701

Lauren Hoehn-Velasco (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies ( email )

Department of Economics
35 Broad Street, 6th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

Jacob Penglase

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

Michael Pesko

University of Missouri - Department of Economics ( email )

USA

Hasan Shahid

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.hasanshahidecon.com/

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