Gender Inequality after Divorce: The Flip Side of Marital Specialization Evidence from a French Administrative Database
If divorce has large consequences on both ex-spouses, its economic impact may be very different for each partner. It is well-documented that women generally experience a large decrease of their living standards after union dissolution, whereas men's living standards are often presented as stable or increase. Thanks to a very rich administrative dataset on French couples who broke up their marriage in 2009, matched with identical still married spouses, we interestingly show that both women and men support a loss in average, but still of larger magnitude for women (19%) than for men (2.5%). Results show that the number of children only plays a minor role in the explanations of the large women's impoverishment. The share of couple's resources each spouse provides before divorce, resulting mainly from marital specialization, is the main driver. Child support payments, public transfers and the massive labor market reentry of inactive women mitigate but do not cancel post-divorce gender inequalities.