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Law, Property, and Marital Dissolution


  • Clark, Simon


This paper challenges the view that legal rights are not important in affecting whether people divorce but it puts as much emphasis on property rights (given, for example, by the law on alimony) as on dissolution rights. The paper sets out two stylized models of marriage and examines the consequences of fuller compensation for economic sacrifices made during marriage. If the dominant economic issue in a marriage is who undertakes household tasks, then a law giving fuller compensation makes divorce more likely. If the dominant issue is child custody, divorce is less likely.

Suggested Citation

  • Clark, Simon, 1999. "Law, Property, and Marital Dissolution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages 41-54, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:109:y:1999:i:454:p:c41-54

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ken Binmore & Ariel Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1986. "The Nash Bargaining Solution in Economic Modelling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(2), pages 176-188, Summer.
    2. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-454, June.
    3. Buchholz, Wolfgang & Konrad, Kai A., 1995. "Strategic transfers and private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 489-505, July.
    4. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1992. "Marriage and Divorce: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 687-693, June.
    5. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
    6. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
    7. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-1187, December.
    8. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
    9. Kanbur, Ravi & Haddad, Lawrence, 1994. "Are Better Off Households More Unequal or Less Unequal?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(3), pages 445-458, July.
    10. Smith, Ian, 1997. "Explaining the Growth of Divorce in Great Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 44(5), pages 519-544, November.
    11. Herrero, Maria Jose, 1989. "The nash program: Non-convex bargaining problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 266-277, December.
    12. Conley, John P. & Wilkie, Simon, 1996. "An Extension of the Nash Bargaining Solution to Nonconvex Problems," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 26-38, March.
    13. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1985. "Children as Collective Goods and Divorce Settlements," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 268-292, July.
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