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Abstract: We study the relationship between divorce law reforms codifying intimate partner violence (IPV) as legal grounds for unilateral divorce, the Oportunidades conditional cash transfer program, and the incidence of IPV in Mexico. Using data from three nationally representative surveys in 2003, 2006, and 2011, we show the legal reforms lead to a 55 percent increase in annual divorce rates, concentrated among couples with a history of violence. Comparing groups of beneficiary and non-beneficiary households within villages, we find that IPV rates converge for these couples in the longer run. Marital selection plays an important role in explaining the long-run relationships.
Keywords: divorce laws; conditional cash transfer programs; Oportunidades; divorce; intimate partner violence; marital selection
JEL Classification: J12; J16; K42