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The risk of divorce and household saving behavior
González Luna, Libertad; Özcan, Berkay
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
We analyze the impact of an increase in the risk of divorce on the savingbehaviour of married couples. From a theoretical perspective, the expected sign of theeffect is ambiguous. We take advantage of the legalization of divorce in Ireland in 1996as an exogenous increase in the likelihood of marital dissolution. We analyze the savingbehaviour over time of couples who were married before the law was passed. We proposea difference-in-differences approach where we use as comparison groups either marriedcouples in other European countries (not affected by the law change), or Irish familieswho did not experience a significant increase in the expected risk of divorce (such as veryreligious families, or single individuals). Our results suggest that the increase in the riskof divorce brought about by the law was followed by an increase in the propensity to saveof married couples, consistent with a rise in precautionary savings interpretation. Anincrease in the risk of marital dissolution of about 40 percent led to a 7 to 13 percent risein the proportion of married couples reporting positive savings.
Labour, Public, Development and Health Economics
divorce law
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