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Child support order: how do judges decide without guidelines? Evidence from France

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  • Cécile Bourreau-Dubois

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  • Myriam Doriat-Duban

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  • Jean-Claude Ray

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Abstract

The paper presents a model of family judges’ child support orders when no guidelines are available. Based on the French case, it argues that judges weigh up their wish to comply with their institutional environment against their discretion and their willingness to find a compromise, by basing their decision on the parties’ average offer. Using experimental data consisting of child support awards set by approximately 80 French judges, the findings of the paper suggest that family judges promote parents’ child support offer when there is an agreement between them, particularly when their offer is lower than the amount deemed necessary to preserve the child’s interest. There is also some evidence that female judges are likely to be more generous than male judges, although in small amounts and under certain circumstances. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Cécile Bourreau-Dubois & Myriam Doriat-Duban & Jean-Claude Ray, 2014. "Child support order: how do judges decide without guidelines? Evidence from France," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 431-452, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:ejlwec:v:38:y:2014:i:3:p:431-452
    DOI: 10.1007/s10657-012-9368-6
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10657-012-9368-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Harnay, Sophie & Marciano, Alain, 2003. "Judicial conformity versus dissidence: an economic analysis of judicial precedent," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 405-420, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Jeandidier & Cécile Bourreau-Dubois & Jean-Claude Ray & Myriam Doriat-Duban, 2016. "Does Gender Matter in the Civil Law Judiciary? Evidence from French Child Support Court Decisions," Working Papers of BETA 2016-55, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Child support; Judge; Family law; D13; J12; K36; K49;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law
    • K49 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Other

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