The Economic Consequences of Divorce for Women in the European Union: The Impact of Welfare State Arrangements

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Increasing divorce rates and growing concerns on welfare dependency urge the question whether welfare state arrangements moderate the negative economic consequences of divorce. In this study, the question is answered by comparing the short-term economic consequences of divorce for women across 14 Member States of the European Union. Using longitudinal data from the 1994–2000 European Community Household Panel survey, I demonstrate that the Member States differ in the extent to which women suffer economically from divorce. Multivariate analyses show that welfare state arrangements temper the economic consequences of divorce for women. Income-related arrangements reduce the economic strains of divorce most, then employment-related arrangements. These welfare state effects cannot be attributed to country differences in the composition of divorced women.