Does Community Property Discourage Unpartnered Births?

37 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2007  

Olivia Ekert Jaffé

National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED)

Shoshana Amyra Grossbard

San Diego State University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: May 2007

Abstract

This paper investigates the likelihood of an unpartnered birth as a function of laws regulating the division of joint property in case of divorce. Based on a rational choice model of marriage and assuming that on average women earn less than men, we predict that women are less likely to have an unpartnered birth when rules for the division of joint property are more advantageous to spouses with lower earnings. We derive more predictions regarding the effects of age, non-intact home, and religiosity, and the interaction between these variables and legal regime regarding divorce. We test our predictions with retrospective data from the Family Fertility Surveys collected in the 1990s. Most of our predictions are confirmed by a multi-country analysis for 17 legal regimes in 12 Western countries as well as single-country analyses for four countries. The results confirm most of our predictions. Our major findings are that the likelihood of an unpartnered birth is higher in countries that offer most women less access to joint property in case of divorce, and that this effect is weaker for teenagers than for women in their twenties.

Keywords: out-of-wedlock, cohabitation, fertility, divorce laws, joint marital property, unpartnered births

JEL Classification: J12, J18, K3

Suggested Citation

Ekert Jaffé, Olivia and Grossbard, Shoshana Amyra, Does Community Property Discourage Unpartnered Births? (May 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2816. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=996389

Olivia Ekert Jaffé

National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED) ( email )

133 Bd Davout
Paris cedex 20, France 75980
France

Shoshana Grossbard (Contact Author)

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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