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How to Carve a Medical Degree: Human Capital Assets in Divorce Settlements

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  • Borenstein, Severin
  • Cournat, Paul N

Abstract

This paper examines effects of the legal rules for property division at divorce on investment in human capital during marriage. The authors show that current rules generally lead to suboptimal levels of investment and spousal support, or to inequitable distribution of the returns from such investment, or both. They propose a new rule that performs better than the existing rules on both efficiency and equity criteria and that requires no more information than the existing rules. Copyright 1989 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Borenstein, Severin & Cournat, Paul N, 1989. "How to Carve a Medical Degree: Human Capital Assets in Divorce Settlements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 992-1009, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:79:y:1989:i:5:p:992-1009
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    Cited by:

    1. Henrekson, Magnus & Dreber, Anna, 2004. "Female Career Success: Institutions, Path Dependence and Psychology," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 574, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 25 Jan 2007.
    2. Dufwenberg, Martin, 1996. "Time Consistent Matrimony with Endogenous Trust," Working Paper Series 1997:1, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    3. Helmuth Cremer & Pierre Pestieau & Kerstin Roeder, 2015. "United but (un)equal: human capital, probability of divorce, and the marriage contract," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(1), pages 195-217, January.
    4. Holahan, William L & Perlman, Richard, 1991. "How to Carve a Medical Degree: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 1015-1016, September.
    5. Ian Smith, 2003. "The Law and Economics of Marriage Contracts," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 201-226, April.
    6. Samuel A. Rea, 1995. "Breaking Up is Hard to Do: The Economics of Spousal Support," Law and Economics 9505001, EconWPA.
    7. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 2014. "Cohabitation and the Uneven Retreat from Marriage in the United States, 1950–2010," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital in History: The American Record, pages 241-272 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 2013. "Cohabitation and the Uneven Retreat from Marriage in the U.S., 1950-2010," NBER Working Papers 19413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Dufwenberg, Martin, 2002. "Marital investments, time consistency and emotions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 57-69, May.

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