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Should common law marriage be abolished?

Author

Listed:
  • Shoshana Grossbard

    (San Diego State University, USA)

Abstract

In addition to regular marriage, Australia, Brazil, and 11 US states recognize common law (or de facto) marriage, which allows one or both cohabiting partners to claim, under certain conditions, that an informal union is a marriage. France and some other countries also have several types of marriage and civil union contracts. The policy issue is whether to abolish common law marriage, as it appears to discourage couple formation and female labor supply. A single conceptual framework can explain how outcomes are affected by the choice between regular and common law marriage, and between various marriage and civil union contracts.

Suggested Citation

  • Shoshana Grossbard, 2016. "Should common law marriage be abolished?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 256-256, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izawol:journl:y:2016:n:256
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, January.
    2. Shoshana Grossbard & Victoria Vernon, 2017. "Common Law Marriage and Teen Births," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 129-145, March.
    3. Emilio Gutiérrez & Pablo Suárez Becerra, 2012. "The relationship between Civil Unions and fertility in France: Preliminary evidence," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 115-132, March.
    4. Shoshana Grossbard & Victoria Vernon, 2014. "Common law marriage and couple formation," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-26, December.
    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. Scott Drewianka, 2008. "Divorce law and family formation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(2), pages 485-503, April.
    7. Laferrere, Anne, 2001. " Marriage Settlements," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(3), pages 485-504, September.
    8. Grossbard-Shechtman, Shoshana & Lemennicier, Bertrand, 2000. "Marriage contracts and the law-and-economics of marriage: an Austrian perspective," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 665-690, June.
    9. Grossbard, Shoshana & Vernon, Victoria, 2014. "Common Law Marriage and Male/Female Convergence in Labor Supply and Time Use," IZA Discussion Papers 7937, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-349, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    common law marriage; couple formation; marriage; labor supply; fertility; civil unions;

    JEL classification:

    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law

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