Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 833–856 | Cite as

Child-custody reform and the division of labor in the household



We investigate whether the adoption of joint-custody laws affects the amount of time that married mothers and fathers devote to market and household work. Our findings suggest that custody reform induces a reallocation of time within marriage, with mothers working more in the market and fathers working more in the home. However, fathers lower their labor-force-participation rates in response to custody reform. The patterns in the data are most easily reconciled with models that emphasize shifts in bargaining power to one household member, which is likely the father in the case of joint-custody reform.


Household labor supply Market work Household work Child custody Household bargaining 

JEL Classification

D13 J22 


  1. Achen, A. C., & Stafford, F. P. (2005). Data quality of housework hours in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics: Who really does the dishes?. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, D. W., & Brinig, M. (2011). Do joint parenting laws make any difference? Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 8(2), 304–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen, B. D., Nunley, J. M., & Seals, A. (2010). The effect of joint-child-custody legislation on the child-support receipt of single mothers. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 32(1), 124–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Attanasio, O., & Lechene, V. (2002). Tests of income polling in household decisions. Review of Economic Dynamics, 5(4), 720–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Becker, G. S. (1991). A treatise on the family. Enlarged. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bergstrom, T. (1996). Economics in a family way. Journal of Economic Literature, 34(4), 1903–1934.Google Scholar
  7. Bergstrom, T. (1997). A survey of theories of the family. In M. R. Rosenzweig & O. Stark (Eds.), Handbook of population and family economics (Vol. 1A, pp. 21–79). San Diego, CA: Elseveir.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bobonis, G. J. (2009). Is the allocation of resources within the household efficient? New evidence from a randomized experiment. Journal of Political Economy, 117(3), 453–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brinig, M., & Allen, D. W. (2000). These boots are made for walking: Why most divorce filers are women. American Law and Economics Review, 2(1), 126–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brinig, M., & Buckley, F. H. (1998). Joint custody: Bonding and monitoring theories. Indiana Law Journal, 73(2), 1–31.Google Scholar
  11. Browning, M., & Chiappori, P.-A. (1998). Efficient intra-household allocations: A general characterization and empirical tests. Econometrica, 66(6), 1241–1278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Browning, M., Chiappori, P.-A., & Lechene, V. (2006). Collective and unitary models: A clarification. Review of the Economics of the Household, 4(1), 5–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Browning, M., Chiappori, P.-A., & Weiss, Y. (2011). Family economics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Chiappori, P.-A., Fortin, B., & Lacroix, G. (2002). Marriage market, divorce legislation, and household labor supply. Journal of Political Economy, 110(2), 37–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duflo, E. (2003). Grandmothers and granddaughters: Old-age pensions and intrahousehold allocation in South Africa. World Bank Economic Review, 17(1), 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ellman, I. M., & Lohr, S. L. (1998). Dissolving the relationship between divorce laws and divorce rates. International Review of Law and Economics, 18(3), 341–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Genadek, K. R., Stock, W. A., & Stoddard, C. (2007). No-fault divorce laws and the labor supply of women with and without children. Journal of Human Resources, 42(1), 247–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gonzalez-Val, R., & Marcen, M. (2012). Unilateral divorce versus child custody and child support in the U.S. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 81(2), 613–643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grossbard-Shechtman, S. (1993). On the economics of marriage: A theory of marriage, labor, and divorce. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  20. Grossbard-Shechtman, S. (1995). Marriage market models. In M. Tommasi & K. Ierulli (Eds.), The new economics of human behavior (pp. 92–112). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gruber, J. (2004). Is making divorce easier bad for children? The long-run implications of unilateral divorce. Journal of Labor Economics, 22(4), 799–833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gupta, N. D., & Stratton, L. S. (2010). Examining the impact of alternative power measures on individual time use in American and Danish couple households. Review of Economics of the Household, 8(3), 325–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Halla, M. (2012). The effect of joint custody on marriage and divorce. Journal of the European Economic Association, 11, 278–315.Google Scholar
  24. Jacob, H. (1988). Silent revolution: The transformation of divorce law in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  25. Lundberg, S., & Pollak, R. (1996). Bargaining and distribution in marriage. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 10(4), 139–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lundberg, S., Pollak, R., & Wales, T. (1997). Do husbands and wives pool their resources? Evidence from the U.K. child benefit. Journal of Human Resources, 32(2), 463–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Manser, M., & Brown, M. (1980). Marriage and household decision-making: A bargaining analysis. International Economic Review, 22(1), 31–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McElroy, M., & Horney, M. J. (1981). Nash-bargained household decisions: Toward a generalization of the theory of demand. International Economic Review, 22(2), 333–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nunley, J. M., & Seals, R. A. (2011). Child-custody reform, marital investment in children, and the labor supply of married mothers. Labour Economics, 18(1), 14–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Oreffice, S. (2007). Did the legalization of abortion increase women’s household bargaining power? Evidence from labor supply. Review of Economics of the Household, 5(2), 181–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Samuelson, P. A. (1956). Social indifference curves. Quarterly Jouranl of Economics, 70(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stevenson, B. (2007). The impact of divorce laws on marriage-specific capital. Journal of Labor Economics, 25(1), 75–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stevenson, B. (2008). Divorce law and women’s labor supply. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 5(4), 853–873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Vermeulen, F. (2002). Collective household models: Principles and main results. Journal of Economic Surveys, 16(4), 533–564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ward-Batts, J. (2008). Out of the wallet and into the purse: Using micro data to test income pooling. Journal of Human Resources, 43(2), 325–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wooldridge, J. M. (2002). Inverse probability weighted M-estimators for sample selection, attrition, and stratification. Portuguese Economic Journal, 1(2), 117–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zaiceva, A., & Zimmerman, K. (2014). Children, kitchen, church: Does ethnicity matter? Review of Economics of the Household, 12(1), 83–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Auburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin-La CrosseLa CrosseUSA

Personalised recommendations