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On unilateral divorce and the "selection of marriages" hypothesis

  • Eric Langlais

This paper revisits the issue of the unilateral divorce law, taking into account that: 1/ the decisions to engage in marriage and then to divorce or to stay married are fundamentally sequential decisions; 2/ household consumption has a large joint component, generating economies of scale. The unilateral divorce law is modelled through the combination of exclusive rights on the marriage dissolution and a monetary transfer to the parent having custody of the children. We analyze the influence of alternative compensation rules both in the short run (probability and efficiency of divorce) and in the long run (selection of marriages). We also show that a decrease in the costs of divorce proceedings has by no means commonplace consequences on marriage ontracting; particularly when consideration of parent's altruism and child support is introduced, more marriages are contracted when the cost of divorces decreases.

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Paper provided by University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX in its series EconomiX Working Papers with number 2009-9.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:drm:wpaper:2009-9
Contact details of provider: Postal: 200 Avenue de la République, Bât. G - 92001 Nanterre Cedex
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  3. Helmut Rainer, 2003. "Should We Write Prenuptial Contracts?," Economics Discussion Papers 572, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  4. Dominique Anxo & Lennart Flood & Yusuf Kocoglu, 2002. "Offre de travail et répartition des activités domestiques et parentales au sein du couple : une comparaison entre la France et la Suède," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 352(1), pages 127-150.
  5. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1997. "Match Quality, New Information, and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S293-329, January.
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  8. Smith, Ian, 1997. "Explaining the Growth of Divorce in Great Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 44(5), pages 519-44, November.
  9. 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.
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  11. Gonzalez, Libertad & Viitanen, Tarja, 2006. "The Effect of Divorce Laws on Divorce Rates in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 2023, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Stéphane Mechoulan, 2006. "Divorce Laws and the Structure of the American Family," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 143-174, 01.
  13. Abraham L. Wickelgren, 2009. "Why Divorce Laws Matter: Incentives for Noncontractible Marital Investments under Unilateral and Consent Divorce," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 80-106, May.
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  15. Katarina Nordblom, 2004. "Cohabitation and Marriage in a Risky World," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 325-340, 04.
  16. Parkman, Allen M., 1998. "Why Are Married Women Working So Hard?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 41-49, March.
  17. Simon Clark, 1999. "Law, Property, and Marital Dissolution," ESE Discussion Papers 32, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  18. Ellman, Ira Mark & Lohr, Sharon L., 1998. "Dissolving the relationship between divorce laws and divorce rates," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 341-359, September.
  19. Jonathan Gardner & Andrew J. Oswald, 2006. "Do divorcing couples become happier by breaking up?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(2), pages 319-336.
  20. Élise Amar & Sophie Guérin, 2007. "Se marier ou non : le droit fiscal peut-il aider à choisir ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 401(1), pages 23-37.
  21. Binner, Jane M & Dnes, Antony W, 2001. "Marriage, Divorce, and Legal Change: New Evidence from England and Wales," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 298-306, April.
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  23. Bowles, Roger & Garoupa, Nuno, 2002. "Household dissolution, child care and divorce law," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 495-510, December.
  24. Brinig, Margaret F & Crafton, Steven M, 1994. "Marriage and Opportunism," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 869-94, June.
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