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Divorce, Fertility and the Shot Gun Marriage

36 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2006 Last revised: 28 Sep 2006

Alberto F. Alesina

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Paola Giuliano

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: July 2006

Abstract

Total fertility declined in states that introduced unilateral divorce, which makes dissolution of marriage easier. Also the ratio of out-of-wedlock fertility over total declined. We suggest an explanation (and provide supportive evidence for it) based upon the effect of divorce laws on the probability of entering and exiting marriage. Women planning to have children marry more easily with an easier "exit option" from marriage. Thus, more children are born in the first years of marriage, while the total marital fertility does not change, probably as a result of an increase in divorces and marital instability.

Suggested Citation

Alesina, Alberto F. and Giuliano, Paola, Divorce, Fertility and the Shot Gun Marriage (July 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12375. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=918973

Alberto Alesina (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Paola Giuliano

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

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Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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