United but (Un)Equal: Human Capital, Probability of Divorce and the Marriage Contract
This paper studies how the risk of divorce affects the human capital decisions of a young couple. We consider a setting where complete specialization (one of the spouses uses up all the education resources) is optimal with no divorce risk. Symmetry in education (both spouses receive an equal amount of education) then acts like an insurance device in case of divorce particularly when the institutions do not compensate for differences in earnings. But, at the same time symmetry in education is less efficient than the extreme specialization. This is the basic tradeoff underlying our analysis. We show that the symmetric allocation will become more attractive as the probability of divorce increases, if risk aversion is high and/or labor supply elasticity is low. However, it is only a “second-best” solution as the insurance protection is achieved at the expense of an efficiency loss. Efficiency can be restored through suitably designed marriage contracts because they can provide the appropriate insurance against divorce to a couple who opts for specialization. Finally, we study how the (economic) use of marriage is affected by the possibility of divorce.
|Date of creation:||2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page: http://www.cesifo.de
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIAU, Pierre & RACIONERO, Maria, 2007.
"Unequal wages for equal utilities,"
CORE Discussion Papers
2007095, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Gary S. Becker, 1974.
"A Theory of Marriage: Part II,"
in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 11-26
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Borenstein, Severin & Cournat, Paul N, 1989. "How to Carve a Medical Degree: Human Capital Assets in Divorce Settlements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 992-1009, December.
- Konrad, Kai A. & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1996.
"The Bargaining Family Revisited,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1312, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Konrad, K.A. & Lommerud, K.E., 2000. "The Bargaining Family Revisited," Norway; Department of Economics, University of Bergen 212, Department of Economics, University of Bergen.
- Fernández, Raquel & Wong, Joyce Cheng, 2011. "The Disappearing Gender Gap: The Impact of Divorce, Wages, and Preferences on Education Choices and Women's Work," IZA Discussion Papers 6046, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1989. "Marital Division of Labor with Risk of Divorce: The Role of "Voice" Enforcement of Contracts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 113-27, January.
- repec:cup:cbooks:9780521716284 is not listed on IDEAS
- Gonzalez, Libertad & Özcan, Berkay, 2008.
"The Risk of Divorce and Household Saving Behavior,"
IZA Discussion Papers
3726, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Libertad González Luna & Berkay Özcan, 2008. "The risk of divorce and household saving behavior," Economics Working Papers 1111, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Libertad González & Berkay Özcan, 2008. "The risk of divorce and household saving behavior," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 38463, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Konrad, Kai A & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1995. " Family Policy with Non-cooperative Families," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 581-601, December.
- Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
- Raquel Fernández & Joyce Cheng Wong, 2011. "The Disappearing Gender Gap: The Impact of Divorce, Wages, and Preferences on Education Choices and Women's Work," NBER Working Papers 17508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Fernández, Raquel & Wong, Joyce Cheng, 2011. "The Disappearing Gender Gap: The Impact of Divorce, Wages, and Preferences on Education Choices and Women's Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 8627, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
- repec:cup:cbooks:9780521887878 is not listed on IDEAS
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4020. 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: (Julio Saavedra)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.