The Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Fifteen-Country Study with the Fertility and Family Survey

in Comparative Sociology
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Studies mainly from the United States provide evidence that children of divorced parents face a higher risk of divorce in their own marriages. We estimate and analyze the effects of divorce transmission using comparative individual data from the United Nations for 13 eastern and western European countries as well as for Canada and the United States. We find substantial and highly statistically significant transmission effects in all samples. This shows that the intergenerational transmission of divorce is a widespread phenomenon observed without a single exception in our data covering a large number of countries with differing historical, institutional, and cultural contexts.

The Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Fifteen-Country Study with the Fertility and Family Survey

in Comparative Sociology



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  • View in gallery
    The sickle model of the divorce risk function. Hazard rate curves for diffferent values of the parameters λ and a.
  • View in gallery
    The intergenerational transmission efffect of divorce. Summary of estimates of β1 from country specifijic maximum likelihood estimations of hazard rate models with diffferent sets of control variables. Plotted is the percent efffect exp(β1)–1. Reading the transmission efffect (e.g., Austria): the percent efffect of 101% means that children whose parents divorced have a 101% higher risk of divorce than children whose parents did not divorce. 95% confijidence interval based on (non-linear) transformation of confijidence bounds of the estimated β1. Full estimation results are provided in Tables A.4 to A.6 in the Appendix.
  • View in gallery
    Intergenerational divorce transmission and divorce rates by country.


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