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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
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    1. 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.
    2. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 91-08, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
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    4. Richard Blundell & André Chiappori & Thierry Magnac & Costas Meghir, 1998. "Collective labour supply: heterogeneity and non-participation," IFS Working Papers W98/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. 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.
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    7. Schultz, T.P., 1990. "Testing The Neoclassical Model Of Family Labor Supply And Fertility," Papers 601, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
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    11. Chiappori, P.A., 1989. "Collective Labour Supply and Welfare," DELTA Working Papers 89-07, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
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    13. 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.
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    15. Ian Smith, 2003. "The Law and Economics of Marriage Contracts," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 201-226, 04.
    16. Shelly Lundberg & Robert Pollak, 2003. "Efficiency in Marriage," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 153-167, September.
    17. Duncan Thomas, 1990. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 635-664.
    18. Browning, M. & Bourguignon, F. & Chiappori, P.A. & Lechene, V., 1992. "Incomes and Outcomes: A structural Model of Intra-Household Allocation," DELTA Working Papers 92-23, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    19. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
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    21. 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.
    22. repec:bla:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:3:p:857-895 is not listed on IDEAS
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