On unilateral divorce and the "selection of marriages" hypothesis
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 lternative 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 contracting; particularly when consideration of parents’ altruism and child support is introduced, more marriages are contracted when the cost of divorces decreases.
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