Date Added: Jun 2010
If participation in the labor market helps to secure women's outside options in the case of divorce/separation, an increase in the perceived risk of marital dissolution may accelerate the increase in female labor supply. This simple prediction has been tested in the literature using time and/or spatial variation in divorce legislation (e.g., across US states), leading to mixed results. In this paper, the authors suggest testing this hypothesis by exploiting a more radical policy change, i.e., the legalization of divorce. In Ireland, the right to divorce was introduced in 1996, followed by an acceleration of marriage breakdown rates.