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

Ananat, Elizabeth and Michaels, Guy (2008) The effect of marital breakup on the income distribution of women with children. Journal of Human Resources, 43 (3). pp. 611-629. ISSN 0022-166X

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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: Article
Official URL: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/jhr/
Additional Information: © 2008 University of Wisconsin Press
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Departments > Economics
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 06 May 2008 10:29
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/4643/

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