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 these effects of early childhood conditions arise due to divorce laws raising the likelihood of parental marital disruption or whether unilateral divorce laws also affect children in intact marriages by changing intra-household bargaining. Using recently available data from SHARELIFE for 11 Western European countries, we address this question employing a difference-in-differences approach and controlling for childhood family structure and socioeconomic status. Like previous research, we find adverse effects of growing up under unilateral divorce laws on the well-being of children. This effect remains even when controlling for childhood variables. We conclude that unilateral divorce laws affect children by changing family bargaining in intact marriages.