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Is Marriage as Good as a Contract?

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  • Alessandro Cigno

Abstract

Neither marriage nor a legally enforceable contract serves any useful purpose if the parties have access to a perfect credit market. In the presence of credit rationing, efficiency and utility equalization are guaranteed only by a legally enforceable contract. Separate-property marriage may reduce and community-property marriage actually eliminate inefficiency, but neither of them guarantees utility equalization.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4555.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4555

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Keywords: contracts; hold-up problem; separate-property marriage; community-property marriage; divorce legislation;

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  1. Miriam Beblo & Stefan Bender & Elke Wolf, 2009. "Establishment-level wage effects of entering motherhood," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(suppl_1), pages i11-i34, April.
  2. Shelley Phipps & Peter Burton & Lynn Lethbridge, 2001. "In and out of the labour market: long-term income consequences of child-related interruptions to women's paid work," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 411-429, May.
  3. Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1989. "Marital Division of Labor with Risk of Divorce: The Role of "Voice" Enforcement of Contracts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 113-27, January.
  4. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Smith, Nina, 2001. "Children and Career Interruptions: The Family Gap in Denmark," IZA Discussion Papers 263, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Adrian Masters, 2008. "Marriage, Commitment and Divorce in a Matching Model with Differential Aging," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(3), pages 614-628, July.
  6. Bruno Deffains & Eric Langlais, 2006. "Incentives to cooperate and the discretionary power of courts in divorce law," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 423-439, December.
  7. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  8. Stark, Oded, 1993. "Nonmarket transfers and altruism," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 1413-1424, October.
  9. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S11-S26, Part II, .
  10. Clark, Simon, 1999. "Law, Property, and Marital Dissolution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages C41-54, March.
  11. Abraham L. Wickelgren, 2009. "Why Divorce Laws Matter: Incentives for Noncontractible Marital Investments under Unilateral and Consent Divorce," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 80-106, May.
  12. Fella, Giulio & Manzini, Paola & Mariotti, Marco, 2002. "Does Divorce Law Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 439, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Zelder, Martin, 1993. "Inefficient Dissolutions as a Consequence of Public Goods: The Case of No-Fault Divorce," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 503-20, June.
  14. Pierre-André Chiappori & Sonia Oreffice, 2008. "Birth Control and Female Empowerment: An Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 113-140, 02.
  15. Manning, Alan & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2006. "The Part-Time Pay Penalty for Women in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 2419, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Helmut Rainer, 2005. "Should We Write Prenuptial Contracts?," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews 200514, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.
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