French couples may choose between two types of marriage settlements governing asset ownership after a divorce or inheritance: common property or separate property. A cooperative model considers the marriage contract as a means of providing for widowhood of the less endowed spouse. A second model addresses the probability of divorce and the production of a marriage good. The common property contract then becomes a means of inducing the wife to invest in the marriage good. Choice of contract, labor supply and fertility are simultaneous. Empirically we find that characteristics of the spouses such as relative age or differences in endowments influence the choice. So do the expected number of children and the wife's labor supply decision. This last decision is also shown to be influenced by the chosen settlement, while fertility is not. Copyright 2001 by The editors of the Scandinavian Journal of Economics.
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Volume (Year): 103 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
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