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Uncommitted Couples: Some Efficiency and Policy Implications of Marital Bargaining

  • Saku Aura

This paper studies a married couple’s dynamic investment and consumption choices under the assumption that the couple cannot commit across time not to renegotiate their decisions. The inefficiencies that can arise are characterized. Efficiency properties of different divorce asset-division regimes are examined. A stylized common-law regime is shown to lead to fully efficient outcome in a simple model while it is shown that under a community-property regime the couple is unlikely to attain full efficiency. The effect of the inability to commit across time on the savings level is examined under a tractable special case of the model.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 801.

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Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_801
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  1. Shelly Lundberg & Jennifer Ward-Batts, 2000. "Saving for Retirement: Household Bargaining and Household Net Worth," Working Papers 0026, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  2. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
  3. 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..
  4. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old Age Pension and Intra-household Allocation in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 8061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Martin Browning, 1994. "The Saving Behaviour of a Two Person Household," Discussion Papers 96-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Jan 1996.
  6. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-49, June.
  7. Lundberg, Shelly & Startza, Richard & Stillman, Steven, 2003. "The retirement-consumption puzzle: a marital bargaining approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1199-1218, May.
  8. Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 1998. "Mutual Insurance, Individual Savings and Limited Commitment," Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) 98/14, Department of Economics, Keele University.
  9. Maurizio Mazzocco, 2007. "Household Intertemporal Behaviour: A Collective Characterization and a Test of Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 857-895.
  10. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  11. Aura, Saku, 2005. "Does the balance of power within a family matter? The case of the Retirement Equity Act," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1699-1717, September.
  12. repec:bla:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:3:p:857-895 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Working Papers 94-6, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  14. Dnes, Antony W., 1999. "Applications of economic analysis to marital law: concerning a proposal to reform the discretionary approach to the division of marital assets in England and Wales," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 533-552, December.
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