IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/tor/tecipa/reas-95-01.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: The Economics of Spousal Support

Author

Listed:
  • Samuel A. Rea, Jr.

Abstract

The introduction of "no-fault" divorce in most of North America has eliminated the traditional basis for spousal support without providing a satisfactory alternative. Women who have reduced their labor force participation to look after a home and raise children are particularly disadvantaged by divorce. Recent cases and legal scholarship have attempted to find ways of recognizing the investment that a woman has made in the family and in her husband's career. In a recent case, Elliot v. Elliot, an Ontario court awarded the woman half of the difference between her earnings had she not married and her earnings after the divorce. A logical extension of the case would also award her half of any increase in his earnings resulting from the marriage. The model developed in this paper highlights the changes in earnings that result from specialization in housework or market work, investment in children, and investment in the spouse's human capital. The efficiency of marriage matches and divorce are also analyzed. Many alternative concepts of spousal support are presented within the framework of the model, and the incentive effects on human capital, marriage, and divorce are considered. Although no measure is perfect, the paper concludes that the approach taken in Elliot, adjusted for additional leisure enjoyed during marriage, offers a reasonable compromise between competing objectives. Property division is also considered within the same framework.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel A. Rea, Jr., 1995. "Breaking Up is Hard to Do: The Economics of Spousal Support," Working Papers reas-95-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:reas-95-01
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/UT-ECIPA-REAS-95-01.ps
    File Function: MainText
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/UT-ECIPA-REAS-95-01.pdf
    File Function: MainText
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mincer, Jacob & Polachek, Solomon, 1974. "Family Investment in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 76-108, Part II, .
    2. 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.
    3. Daniel, K., 1991. "Does Marriage Make Men More Productive?," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-2, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
    4. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1991. "Does Marriage Really Make Men More Productive?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 282-307.
    5. repec:mes:challe:v:35:y:1992:i:4:p:51-53 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-1187, December.
    7. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
    8. Joseph Farrell & Suzanne Scotchmer, 1988. "Partnerships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 279-297.
    9. Allen, Douglas W., 1990. "An inquiry into the state's role in marriage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 171-191, March.
    10. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1993. "Transfers among Divorced Couples: Evidence and Interpretation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(4), pages 629-679, October.
    11. Zelder, Martin, 1993. "Inefficient Dissolutions as a Consequence of Public Goods: The Case of No-Fault Divorce," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 503-520, June.
    12. Sheila Eastman, 1992. "Improving Outcomes for Divorced Women," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 18(3), pages 318-326, September.
    13. Fethke, Carol C, 1984. "An Economic Model of Asset Division in the Dissolution of Marriage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 265-270, May.
    14. Sander, William, 1985. "Women, Work, and Divorce," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 519-523, June.
    15. David Lam, 1988. "Marriage Markets and Assortative Mating with Household Public Goods: Theoretical Results and Empirical Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 462-487.
    16. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1985. "Children as Collective Goods and Divorce Settlements," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 268-292, July.
    17. Borenstein, Severin & Cournat, Paul N, 1989. "How to Carve a Medical Degree: Human Capital Assets in Divorce Settlements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 992-1009, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K39 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Other
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:reas-95-01. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (RePEc Maintainer) or () or (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.