RIP: The Effects of Joint Custody for Parents on the Margin: Evidence from Randomly-Assigned Judges



Date and Time

November 3, 2017 12:00 PM

Relative to just a few decades ago, today's children are much more likely to grow up with divorced or separated parents. Laws promoting joint legal custody arrangements, which grant both parents the right to make decisions regarding key aspects of their children's welfare, are increasingly common, despite scarce evidence regarding their causal impacts on families. We merge several sources of Danish administrative data and leverage the random assignment of legal custody cases to judges to estimate causal impacts of court-ordered joint legal custody on parent-child interactions, both parents' subsequent family formation, parental and child health, and the incidence of domestic violence. Our analysis sample is highly policy-relevant as these families are "marginal" with respect to joint custody (i.e., the parents would have opted for sole maternal or paternal custody if the decision were up to them).


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