Marriage and Trust: Some Lessons from Economics
This paper examines the role of marriage as an institution for providing couples with the confidence to make long-term investments in their relationship. No-fault divorce has undermined the notion of marriage as a contract, thereby reducing the security offered by marriage and promoting opportunism by men. This has weakened the bargaining power of wives, both within marriage and when divorce occurs. Current legal reforms will improve the economic position of all divorced wives, including those who are primarily responsible for the breakdown of their marriage. The latter feature will encourage opportunism by women and make men less prepared to invest in their marriage. The paper argues that the only way to achieve parity between men and women, and deter opportunism by either sex, is to return to fault-based divorce. Both divorce settlements and the custody of children should depend on preceding marital conduct. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.
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Volume (Year): 23 (1999)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
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