Carole Bonnet, Bertrand Garbinti and Anne Solaz
Published 25 April 2018
Though shared custody arrangements after divorce are more and more frequent in many countries, little is known about their economic consequences for parents. By relaxing family time constraints, does shared custody help divorced mothers return to work more easily? This article analyses to what extent the type of child custody arrangement affects mothers’ labour market behaviours after divorce. Using a large sample of divorcees from an exhaustive French administrative income-tax database, and taking advantage of the huge territorial discrepancies observed in the proportion of shared custody, we correct for the possible endogeneity of shared custody. As it turns out, the probability of being employed is 16 percentage points higher for mothers with shared custody arrangements compared to those having sole physical custody, with huge heterogeneous effects: larger positive effects are observed for previously inactive women, for those belonging to the lowest income quintiles before divorce, for those with a young child, and for those who have three or more children. Shared custody is particularly helpful for women who are far removed from the labour market.