The effect of divorce risk on the labor force participation of women with and without children
Genadek, Katie Rose.
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This paper examines the effects of divorce risk on the labor force participation responses of married women. The empirical analysis uses a difference-in-difference-in-difference estimator to compare changes in labor force participation associated with the passage of state-level divorce laws, focusing on the responses of married women with children relative to married women without children. The most important new finding is that married mothers have greater labor force participation responses to no-fault divorce laws than do married non-mothers in states with such laws, even after controlling for differences in labor force participation among married women with and without children in states without no-fault divorce laws. The results suggest that the probability of being in the labor force associated with no-fault divorce law is about 5 percent higher for women with children relative to women without children. Previous research has underestimated the effect of divorce laws on female labor force participation because it failed to account for differences between women with and without children.