IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/bep/grleeb/1-1-1004.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Rule of One-Third

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Zak

    (Claremont Graduate University)

  • Rick Geddes

    (Fordham University)

Abstract

The Rule of One-Third guaranteed wives a life interest in one-third of their husband's estate upon marital dissolution. We document the ubiquity of this legal construct over four thousand years and across numerous societies. Due to specialization within the household, we demonstrate that without a wife's residual claim on her husband's estate, children's outcomes are imperiled. Using ancient Roman law as an example, we argue that the patriarch, or paterfamilias, is the primary legal entity with an interest in creating and enforcing the Rule of One-Third. Then, in a game-theoretic model, we demonstrate that the Rule of One-Third obtains when mothers' and fathers' are equally important at producing children's human capital, and when this rule is enforced by the paterfamilias or by modern legal institutions. We conclude that the Rule of One-Third arose in many societies because it places the cost of marital dissolution on the household rather than society, and solves a contracting problem between the husband and wife when each is specialized in tasks the other cannot perform well.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Zak & Rick Geddes, "undated". "The Rule of One-Third," Gruter Institute Working Papers on Law, Economics, and Evolutionary Biology 1-1-1004, Berkeley Electronic Press.
  • Handle: RePEc:bep:grleeb:1-1-1004
    Note: oai:bepress:giwp-1004
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=giwp
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joskow, Paul L, 1988. "Asset Specificity and the Structure of Vertical Relationships: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 95-117, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Rick Geddes & Dean Lueck & Sharon Tennyson, 2012. "Human Capital Accumulation and the Expansion of Women's Economic Rights," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(4), pages 839-867.
    2. Paul J. Zak, 2002. "Genetics, family structure, and economic growth," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 343-365.
    3. Paul J. Zak & Kwang Woo Park, "undated". "Population Genetics and Economic Growth," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-20, Claremont Colleges.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage; Divorce; Human Capital; Institutions;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bep:grleeb:1-1-1004. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: http://www.bepress.com/giwp/default/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.