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Public Goods, Transferable Utility and Divorce Laws

Author

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  • Chiappori, Pierre-André

    () (Columbia University)

  • Iyigun, Murat

    () (University of Colorado, Boulder)

  • Weiss, Yoram

    () (Tel Aviv University)

Abstract

We reconsider the well known Becker-Coase (BC) argument, according to which changes in divorce laws should not affect divorce rates, in the context of households which consume public goods in addition to private goods. For this result to hold, utility must be transferable both within marriage and upon divorce, and the marginal rate of substitution between public and private consumption needs to be invariant in marital status. We develop a model in which couples consume public goods and show that if divorce alters the way some goods are consumed (either because some goods that are public in marriage become private in divorce or because divorce affects the marginal rate of substitution between public and private goods), then the Becker-Coase theorem holds only under strict quasi-linearity. We conclude that, in general, divorce laws will influence the divorce rate, although the impact of a change in divorce laws can go in either direction.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiappori, Pierre-André & Iyigun, Murat & Weiss, Yoram, 2007. "Public Goods, Transferable Utility and Divorce Laws," IZA Discussion Papers 2646, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2646
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Giulio Fella & Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2004. "Does Divorce Law Matter?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 607-633, June.
    2. M. Browning & P. A. Chiappori, 1998. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1241-1278, November.
    3. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-454, June.
    4. Duncan Thomas, 1990. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 635-664.
    5. 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.
    6. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 267-288.
    7. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Cornes, Richard C, 1983. "Independence of Allocative Efficiency from Distribution in the Theory of Public Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1753-1765, November.
    8. Becker, Gary S, 1992. "Fertility and the Economy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 5(3), pages 185-201, August.
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    11. Niko Matouschek & Imran Rasul, 2008. "The Economics of the Marriage Contract: Theories and Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 59-110, February.
    12. Pierre-André Chiappori & Yoram Weiss, 2007. "Divorce, Remarriage, and Child Support," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 37-74.
    13. Clark, Simon, 1999. "Law, Property, and Marital Dissolution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages 41-54, March.
    14. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
    15. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1999. " Systems of Benevolent Utility Functions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 1(1), pages 71-100.
    16. Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1802-1820, December.
    17. Chiappori, P.A. & Ekeland, I., 2006. "The micro economics of group behavior: General characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 1-26, September.
    18. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-467, June.
    19. T. Paul Schultz, 1990. "Testing the Neoclassical Model of Family Labor Supply and Fertility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 599-634.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Thorsten Kneip & Gerrit Bauer & Steffen Reinhold, 2014. "Direct and Indirect Effects of Unilateral Divorce Law on Marital Stability," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(6), pages 2103-2126, December.
    2. repec:esx:essedp:724 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Alessandra Voena, 2011. "Yours, Mine and Ours: Do Divorce Laws Affect the Intertemporal Behavior of Married Couples?," Discussion Papers 10-022, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    4. Sun, Ang & Zhao, Yaohui, 2016. "Divorce, abortion, and the child sex ratio: The impact of divorce reform in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 53-69.
    5. Böheim, René & Francesconi, Marco & Halla, Martin, 2012. "Does Custody Law Affect Family Behavior In and Out of Marriage?," IZA Discussion Papers 7064, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Iyigun, Murat & Weiss, Yoram, 2008. "An Assignment Model with Divorce and Remarriage," IZA Discussion Papers 3892, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Fisher, H., 2011. "Divorce Property Division and the Decision to Marry or Cohabit," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1101, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    8. Francesconi, Marco & Rainer, Helmut & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2008. "Unintended Consequences of Welfare Reform: The Case of Divorced Parents," IZA Discussion Papers 3891, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Kristin Mammen, 2008. "The Long-Term Effects of the Divorce Revolution: Health, Wealth, and Labor Supply," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2008-22, Center for Retirement Research, revised Nov 2008.
    10. repec:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:604:p:1874-1905 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Pierre‐Andre Chiappori & Murat Iyigun & Jeanne Lafortune & Yoram Weiss, 2017. "Changing the Rules Midway: The Impact of Granting Alimony Rights on Existing and Newly Formed Partnerships," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 1874-1905, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    collective model; Becker-Coase theorem; divorce rates;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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