This article was edited by Jay Teachman.
Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates in Western Europe?
Version of Record online: 30 JUL 2009
Copyright © National Council on Family Relations, 2009
Journal of Marriage and Family
Volume 71, Issue 3, pages 592–607, August 2009
How to Cite
Kneip, T. and Bauer, G. (2009), Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates in Western Europe?. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71: 592–607. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00621.x
- Issue online: 30 JUL 2009
- Version of Record online: 30 JUL 2009
- family economics;
- family law;
- fixed-effects models;
- rational choice;
- time-series analysis
The increase in European divorce rates over the past decades was accompanied by several changes in divorce laws. Yet for European countries, research on the effects of divorce law on the divorce rate is scarce. Most of the existing studies are based on data from North America and provide numerous, but inconsistent, results. We use fixed-effects regression models to examine the impact of the introduction of unilateral divorce on the divorce rate in Western European countries. We find that de facto unilateral divorce practices led to a sustainable increase in the divorce rate, whereas legal rights to unilaterally divorce had no long-run effects.