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Divorce law and family formation

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Several studies have investigated whether unilateral divorce laws raised divorce rates, with mixed results. This paper asks whether unilateral, and no-fault, divorce laws influenced family formation. Besides their interest to policy makers, such effects may help theorists understand the mechanisms through which laws affect behavior. The results suggest that no-fault laws slightly reduced fertility, and unilateral divorce modestly increased divorce and legitimacy. However, the pattern of effects is not consistent with any of the hypotheses reviewed, and the estimated magnitudes suggest that changes in divorce law were not a major cause of changing family structure.

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Correspondence to Scott Drewianka.

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Responsible editor: Deborah Cobb-Clark

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Drewianka, S. Divorce law and family formation. J Popul Econ 21, 485–503 (2008).

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