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Club classification of US divorce rates

González-Val, Rafael and Marcén, Miriam (2015): Club classification of US divorce rates.

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Abstract

In this paper, we study the evolution of US divorce rates across states, from 1956 to 1998. Using a cluster algorithm, we identify different groups of states that converge on each other in the evolution of their divorce rates. We find strong empirical support for the club classification. For the whole 1956–1998 period, we find evidence of convergence in divorce rates for the majority of the states, but when we split the sample, a different pattern emerges. In the pre-unilateral divorce reform period (1956–1972), we find that most of the states had converging divorce rates within several convergence clubs, but the club classification of states significantly changed in the post-reform period (1973–1998). Finally, we analyze the explanatory factors of the club classification of states in both sub-periods, using geographical, socio-economic, and demographic variables.

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