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Until Death Do Us Part? The economics of short-term marriage contracts

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  • Stefania Marcassa

    () (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

  • Grégory Ponthière

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

"Until death do us part". Common wisdom considers that marriages will last forever, as the default length of a marriage is the total remaining lifespan of the spouses. This paper aims at questioning the prevailing marriage contracts, by exploring the conditions under which short-term contracts would be more desirable. Using a two-period collective household model, we show that, under a large interval of values for household production technology parameters and individual preference parameters, short-term marriage contracts, if available, would dominate long-term contracts. Moreover, the recent equalization of bargaining power within the household is shown to make short-term contracts even more desirable than in the past.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefania Marcassa & Grégory Ponthière, 2010. "Until Death Do Us Part? The economics of short-term marriage contracts," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564900, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00564900
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00564900
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. O Blanchard & A Landier, 2002. "The Perverse Effects of Partial Labour Market Reform: fixed--Term Contracts in France," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages 214-244, June.
    2. Hamilton, Gillian, 1999. "Property Rights and Transaction Costs in Marriage: Evidence from Prenuptial Contracts," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(01), pages 68-103, March.
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    Keywords

    marriage contracts; collective household model; length of marriage; household production technology;

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