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Will You Covenant Marry Me? A Preliminary Look at a New Type of Marriage


  • Amanda J Felkey

    (Department of Economics, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL, 60045, USA)


In a backlash to the growing divorce rate, three states have begun to offer covenant contracts — a more binding form of legal marriage. From a policy and public finance standpoint, it is important to understand how covenant availability may change the marrying and divorcing behavior of couples. This paper serves as a preliminary analysis of covenant marriage contracts. It describes who is choosing these unions and why. It uses both standard and behavioral economic approaches to explore theoretically why whether couples are using this new type of marriage to signal to or screen potential partners, or perhaps as a commitment device. Empirical evidence suggests that this marriage may be a commitment device and draws into question whether or not this option is effective in its goal of creating stronger, happier unions, and decreasing divorce rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Amanda J Felkey, 2011. "Will You Covenant Marry Me? A Preliminary Look at a New Type of Marriage," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 367-389.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:easeco:v:37:y:2011:i:3:p:367-389

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