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The effect of divorce laws on divorce rates in Europe
González Luna, Libertad; Viitanen, Tarja K.
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
This paper analyzes a panel of 18 European countries spanning from 1950 to 2003 toexamine the extent to which the legal reforms leading to easier divorce that took placeduring the second half of the 20th century have contributed to the increase in divorce rates across Europe. We use a quasi-experimental set-up and exploit the different timing of the reforms in divorce laws across countries. We account for unobserved country-specificfactors by introducing country fixed effects, and we include country-specific trends tocontrol for time-varying factors at the country level that may be correlated with divorcerates and divorce laws, such as changing social norms or slow moving demographictrends. We find that the reforms were followed by significant increases in divorce rates.Overall, we estimate that the introduction of no-fault, unilateral divorce increased thedivorce rate by about 1, a sizeable effect given the average rate of 4.2 divorces per 1,000married people in 2002.
Labour, Public, Development and Health Economics
divorce rates
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