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- PublicationFemale labor supply and divorce : new evidence from IrelandIf participation in the labor market helps to secure women's outside options in the case of divorce/separation, an increase in the perceived risk of marital dissolution may accelerate the increase in female labor supply. This simple prediction has been tested in the literature using time and/or spatial variation in divorce legislation (e.g., across US states), leading to mixed results. In this paper, we suggest testing this hypothesis by exploiting a more radical policy change, i.e., the legalization of divorce. In Ireland, the right to divorce was introduced in 1996, followed by an acceleration of marriage breakdown rates. We use this fundamental change in the Irish society as a natural experiment. We follow a difference-in-difference approach, using families for whom the dissolution risk is small as a control group. Our results suggest that the legalization of divorce contributed to a significant increase in female labor supply, mostly at the extensive margin. Results are not driven by selection and are robust to several specification checks, including the introduction of household fixed effects and an improved match between control and treatment groups using propensity score reweighting.
- PublicationTax-benefit revealed redistributive preferences over time : Ireland 1987-2005By inverting Saez (2002)'s model of optimal income taxation, we characterize the redistributive preferences of the Irish government between 1987 and 2005. The (marginal) social welfare function revealed by this approach is consistently comparable over time and show great stability despite profound changes in market incomes and important fiscal reforms over the period. Results are robust to numerous checks regarding data, income concepts and elasticities. A comparison with the UK shows marked differences reflecting the narrow political spectrum in Ireland compared to radical changes in British politics over the past 30 years. Some "anomalies" in the revealed social welfare function suggests introducing transfers to the working poor.