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Property Division Laws: The Effects on Labor Supply and Household Bargaining

  • Tümer Kapan

    (The Brattle Group)

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    This paper provides a framework for analyzing the impact of a change in property division law-a natural experiment that affects spouses' bargaining power in a discrete manner-on household decision making. I focus on the 2000 House of Lords decision (White v. White), which led to a more equitable division of assets between divorcing spouses in England and Wales, and estimate its effect on the intrahousehold resource allocation rule using the collective labor supply model. I show that this effect can be expressed as an "equivalent transfer" of household nonlabor income. The "equivalent transfer" concept is then used to demonstrate that the unobserved components of the underlying decision process (the individual preferences and the household resource sharing rule) can be identified nonparametrically from changes in observed labor supply. Empirical analysis using the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS)for 1991-2006 reveals that married women reduced their labor supply after the law change. I also find some evidence that the household resource allocation process changed in their favor.

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    File URL: https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2010/paper_1127.pdf
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    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2010 Meeting Papers with number 1127.

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    Date of creation: 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed010:1127
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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    1. Marcos A. Rangel, 2006. "Alimony Rights and Intrahousehold Allocation of Resources: Evidence from Brazil," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(513), pages 627-658, 07.
    2. Gray, Jeffrey S, 1998. "Divorce-Law Changes, Household Bargaining, and Married Women's Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 628-42, June.
    3. Josh Angrist, 2002. "How Do Sex Ratios Affect Marriage And Labor Markets? Evidence From America'S Second Generation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 997-1038, August.
    4. Helmut Rainer, 2005. "Should We Write Prenuptial Contracts?," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 200514, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.
    5. 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.
    6. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy, 2001. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation and Household Labor Supply," Cahiers de recherche 0103, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
    7. Browning, Martin & Francois Bourguignon & Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Valerie Lechene, 1994. "Income and Outcomes: A Structural Model of Intrahousehold Allocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1067-96, December.
    8. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-46, October.
    9. Blundell, Richard & Chiappori, Pierre-André & Magnac, Thierry & Meghir, Costas, 2005. "Collective Labour Supply: Heterogeneity and Nonparticipation," IZA Discussion Papers 1785, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. repec:bla:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:3:p:857-895 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Iyigun, Murat & Walsh, Randall P., 2005. "Building the Family Nest: Pre-Marital Investments, Marriage Markets and Spousal Allocations," IZA Discussion Papers 1752, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Maurizio Mazzocco, 2007. "Household Intertemporal Behaviour: A Collective Characterization and a Test of Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 857-895.
    13. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 2001. "Efficiency in Marriage," NBER Working Papers 8642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Konrad, K.A. & Lommerud, K.E., 2000. "The Bargaining Family Revisited," Norway; Department of Economics, University of Bergen 212, Department of Economics, University of Bergen.
    15. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 91-08, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    16. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-67, June.
    17. Pierre-André Chiappori & Richard Blundell & Costas Meghir, 2002. "Collective labour supply with children," IFS Working Papers W02/08, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    18. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-54, June.
    19. Basu, Kaushik, 2001. "Gender and Say: A Model of Household Behavior with Endogenously-Determined Balance of Power," Working Papers 01-01, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    20. Ian Smith, 2003. "The Law and Economics of Marriage Contracts," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 201-226, 04.
    21. Duncan Thomas, 1990. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 635-664.
    22. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
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