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Breaks in the Breaks: An Analysis of Divorce Rates in Europe

González-Val, Rafael and Marcén, Miriam (2010): Breaks in the Breaks: An Analysis of Divorce Rates in Europe.

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Abstract

This paper explores the frequency of permanent shocks in divorce rates for 16 European countries during the period 1930 to 2006, by examining whether the divorce rate is a stationary series, exhibits a unit root, or is stationary around a process subject to structural breaks. A clear finding from this analysis is that not all shocks have transitory effects on the divorce rate. Results provide evidence of both stationarity around occasional shocks which have permanent effects, and of a unit root, where all shocks have a permanent effect on the divorce rate. All of the permanent shocks are positive, and almost all occurred in the 1970s. Supplemental analyses indicate that most of these shocks can be associated with the divorce law reforms that occurred throughout Europe at that time, suggesting an important role of those policies in the evolution of divorce rates.

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