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The effect of marital breakup on the income distribution of women with children

Ananat, Elizabeth and Michaels, Guy (2007) The effect of marital breakup on the income distribution of women with children. 6228. Centre for Economic Policy Research, London, UK.

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Abstract

Having a female firstborn child significantly increases the probability that a woman’s first marriage breaks up. Recent work has exploited this exogenous variation to measure the effect of divorce on economic outcomes, and has concluded that divorce has little effect on women’s mean household income. However, using a Quantile Treatment Effect methodology (Abadie et al. 2002) we find that divorce widens the income distribution: it increases the probability that a woman has very low or very high household income. It appears that some women successfully generate income through child support, welfare, combining households, and increased labor supply after divorce, while others are markedly unsuccessful. Thus, although divorce has little effect on mean income, it nonetheless increases poverty and inequality. These findings imply that divorce has important welfare consequences.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://www.cepr.org/
Additional Information: © 2007 Elizabeth O. Ananat and Guy Michaels
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J16 - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J13 - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I32 - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J12 - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Departments > Economics
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: 6228
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2008
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/3273/

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