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Divorce and the Excess Burden of Lawyers

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  • Halla, Martin

    ()
    (University of Linz)

Abstract

We present a model where divorcing spouses can choose to hire lawyers in their divorce process. Spouses encounter incentives as in the classical prisoners’ dilemma: Despite the zero sum nature of the game and the lawyers’ fees, each spouse has an incentive to hire a lawyer. We propose a simple institutional setting allowing for joint lawyers in order to overcome this socially inefficient situation. This model is estimated and tested with rich micro-data from court records. Employing a multiple treatment matching procedure we estimate the causal effect of lawyers on the division of matrimonial property, on the length of the divorce process and on the quality of the divorce settlement.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2962.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2962

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Related research

Keywords: litigation; lawyers; divorce settlements; dispute resolution; family law; multiple treatment matching;

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  1. Orley Ashenfelter & Gordon B. Dahl, 2012. "Bargaining and the Role of Expert Agents: An Empirical Study of Final-Offer Arbitration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 116-132, February.
  2. Andreoni, J. & Miller, J.H., 1991. "Rational Cooperative in the Finitely Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma: Experimental Evidence," Working papers, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems 9102, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  3. Orley Ashenfelter & Janet Currie & Henry S. Farber & Matthew Spiegel, 1990. "An Experimental Comparison of Dispute Rates in Alternative Arbitration Systems," Working Papers, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. 647, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Orley Ashenfelter & David Bloom, 1993. "Lawyers as Agents of the Devil in a Prisoner's Dilemma Game," NBER Working Papers 4447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Casella, Alessandra, 1996. "On market integration and the development of institutions: The case of international commercial arbitration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 155-186, January.
  6. Shavell, Steven, 1995. "Alternative Dispute Resolution: An Economic Analysis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 1-28, January.
  7. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2005. "Do Divorcing Couples Become Happier By Breaking Up?," IZA Discussion Papers 1788, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Yoram Weiss & Robert J. Willis, . "Match Quality, New Information and Marital Dissolution," University of Chicago - Population Research Center, Chicago - Population Research Center 95-13, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  9. Daniel F. Rubinfeld & Suzanne Scotchmer, 1993. "Contingent Fees for Attorneys: An Economic Analysis," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(3), pages 343-356, Autumn.
  10. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
  11. Cooter, Robert D & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1989. "Economic Analysis of Legal Disputes and Their Resolution," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 1067-97, September.
  12. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Program Heterogeneity And Propensity Score Matching: An Application To The Evaluation Of Active Labor Market Policies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 205-220, May.
  13. repec:fth:prinin:270 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. Martin Halla & Johann Scharler, 2008. "Marriage, Divorce and Interstate Risk Sharing," Economics working papers, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria 2008-16, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  2. Henri Fraisse, 2010. "Labour Disputes and the Game of Legal Representation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3084, CESifo Group Munich.

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