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

Ananat, Elizabeth O. and Michaels, Guy (2007) The effect of marital breakup on the income distribution of women with children. CEP Discussion Papers, CEPDP0787. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Identification Number: CEPDP0787


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 marital breakup on economic outcomes, and has concluded that divorce has little effect on women’s average household income. Employing an Abadie (2003) technique that allows us to look at the impact of marital breakup throughout the income distribution, however, we find that divorce greatly increases the probability that a woman lives in a household with income in the bottom quartile. While women partially offset the loss of spousal earnings with child support, welfare, combining households, and substantially increasing their labor supply, divorce significantly increases the odds that a woman with children is poor.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2007 The Authors
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Series: Working Papers > CEP Discussion Papers
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2013 08:56
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2013 08:56

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