Explaining the consequences of imprisonment for union formation and dissolution in Denmark
2015 (English)Report (Other academic)
Imprisonment reduces men’s chances on the marriage market and increases their divorce risk, but existing research is, with a few notable exceptions, silent about the underlying mechanisms driving these effects. Serving a prison sentence at home under electronic monitoring could mitigate the negative effects of imprisonment on union formation and dissolution, as serving a sentence at home does not separate spouses and does not impair human capital to the same degree as imprisonment. This article studies the effect of electronic monitoring as a noncustodial alternative to imprisonment on the risk of relationship dissolution and being single, and analyzes the mechanisms through which imprisonment could affect these outcomes. We exploit a penal reform that expanded the use of electronic monitoring to address nonrandom selection into electronic monitoring instead of in prison. Results from a sample of 2,664 men show that electronic monitoring significantly and persistently lowers the risk both of being single and of becoming single during the first four years following conviction. We further show that electronic monitoring lowers these risks because offenders who serve their prison sentence at home under electronic monitoring do not experience the same degree of human capital depletion and the strain of spousal separation as imprisoned offenders do. We find no evidence of a social stigma effect of imprisonment on union formation and dissolution once we control for the stigma of a criminal conviction. The results show that a tool used to promote decarceration trends also secure better relationship outcomes of convicted men.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Copenhagen: The Rockwool Foundation Research Unit , 2015. , 45 p.
, The Rockwool Foundation Research Unit Study Paper, 91
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-125422OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-125422DiVA: diva2:892712