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Missing Contracts: On the Rationality of not Signing a Prenuptial Agreement

  • Antonio Nicolò
  • Piero Tedeschi

Many couples do not sign prenuptial agreements, even though this often leads to costly and inefficient litigation in case of divorce. In this paper we show that strategic reasons may prevent agents from signing prenuptial agreements. Partners who value more the benefit of the marriage wish to signal their type by running the risk of a costly divorce. Hence this contract incompleteness arises as a screening device. Moreover, the threat of costly divorce is credible since the lack of an ex-ante agreement leads to a moral hazard problem within the couple, which induces partners to reject any ex-post amicable agreement.

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Paper provided by Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Dipartimento di Statistica in its series Working Papers with number 20060506.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mis:wpaper:20060506
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  14. 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, 02.
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