Steffen Reinhold, Thorsten Kneip, Gerrit Bauer
The Long Run Consequences of Unilateral Divorce Laws on Children – Evidence from SHARELIFE
Previous research has shown adverse effects of growing up under unilateral divorce laws on long-term outcomes of children. It remains an open question of whether long-term effects of early childhood conditions arise because divorce laws raise the likelihood of parental marital disruption, or whether unilateral divorce laws also affect children in intact marriages by changing intra-household bargaining. Using newly available data from SHARELIFE for eleven Western European countries we address this question employing a differences-in-differences approach and controlling for childhood family structure and socioeconomic status. Like previous research, we find strong adverse effects of growing up under unilateral divorce laws on the well-being of children, and this effect remains even when controlling for childhood variables. We conclude that unilateral divorce laws affect children by changing family bargaining in intact marriages.