Does Community Property Discourage Lone Motherhood?

Olivia Ekert-Jaffe, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Shoshana Grossbard, San Diego State University

A model of women’s rational choice between motherhood alone and in-couple leads us to predict that more women are likely to have a child out-of-couple (1) the higher the degree of community in marital property to be divided in case of divorce or separation, and (2) the more divorce can be expected. Based on a sample of more than 30,000 women from the Family Fertility Surveys conducted in the 1990s in 12 countries, we find evidence in support of our predictions after controlling for labor force participation history, family background, birth cohort, and religiosity. The countries in our sample vary in degree of community of marital assets, ranging from low level of community in Anglo-Saxon Common Law countries to high level of community in Norway where a 50/50 division rule applies to all assets, including assets acquired before marriage.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Union Formation and Dissolution, Fertility, Family and Well-being