A new paper published ONLINE FIRST with free READLINK provides robust evidence that housing market regulations in China significantly increase the propensity for strategic divorce of married couples.
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Housing market regulations and strategic divorce propensity in China
by James Alm, Weizheng Lai and Xun Li
Published ONLINE FIRST 2021: Journal of Population Economics
FREE ACCESS: Readlink: https://rdcu.be/cloDS
Author Abstract: In China’s regulated housing markets, a married couple may choose strategically to divorce in order to purchase more houses and/or purchase with more favorable financial conditions. Our study examines the propensity for strategic divorce induced by housing market regulations in China. To overcome the difficulty of using conventional divorce data to distinguish between a “true” divorce and a strategic (or a “fake”) divorce, we design an identification strategy using data on internet searches for divorce- and marriage-related keywords in 32 Chinese major cities from 2009 through 2016. Our difference-in-differences estimates provide robust evidence that housing market regulations significantly increase the propensity for strategic divorce. Our results also show that the increase in the propensity for strategic divorce is weaker in cities with higher male–female ratios and with stronger Confucian ideologies. These findings point to the role that housing market regulations play in distorting a family’s choices, as well as to the importance for policymakers to consider unintended impacts of regulations.
Journal of Population Economics
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