Sunday, December 21, 2003

New Law Review Article

This looks interesting:
Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress

Stanford University
Graduate School of Business
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Harvard University


Over the past thirty years changes in divorce law have significantly increased access to divorce. The different timing of divorce law reform across states provides a useful quasi-experiment with which to examine the effects of this change. We analyze state panel data to estimate changes in suicide, domestic violence, and spousal murder rates arising from the change in divorce law. Suicide rates are used as a quantifiable measure of well-being, albeit one that focuses on the extreme lower tail of the distribution. We find a large, statistically significant, and econometrically robust decline in the number of women committing suicide following the introduction of unilateral divorce. No significant effect is found for men. Domestic violence is analyzed using data on both family conflict resolution and intimate homicide rates. The results indicate a large decline in domestic violence for both men and women in states that adopted unilateral divorce. We find suggestive evidence that unilateral divorce led to a decline in females murdered by their partners, while the data revealed no discernible effects for men murdered. In sum, we find strong evidence that legal institutions have profound real effects on outcomes within families.
UPDATE: And so does this one:
Fear and Greed in Tax Policy: A Qualitative Research Agenda

University of Texas School of Law

University of Texas School of Law

In this piece, prepared for a symposium on the empirical study of taxation, we consider the intriguing possibility that taxes generate disutility for taxpayers in excess of the dollar amounts involved. While most people dislike paying taxes, the extent to which a phenomenon of "tax aversion" exists is empirically unknown, as are the causes and constituent elements of any such aversion. Investigation of these questions could provide important lessons for tax policy. If people are averse to taxes above and beyond the financial losses the taxes represent, they would tend to spend more time and money on tax avoidance than economic analysis would predict, creating additional deadweight losses for society. Even where avoidance is not pursued at elevated levels, tax aversion would increase the disutility associated with the payment of the tax, generating psychic costs and potentially impacting compliance levels. Hence, a better understanding of the magnitude and components of tax aversion could advance comprehension of taxpayer behavior and spur useful innovation in tax design.


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