IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

A Human Capital-Based Theory of Post Marital Residence Rules

  • Matthew J. Baker


    (United States Naval Academy)

  • Joyce P. Jacobsen


    (Economics Department, Wesleyan University)

In pre-modern societies the residence of a newly-wedded couple is often decided by custom. We formulate a theory of optimal post-marital residence rules based on contracting problems created by the nature of pre-marriage human capital investments. We argue that a fixed post-marital residence rule may mitigate a hold-up problem by specifying marriage terms and limiting possibilities for renegotiation; the trade-off is that the rule may prohibit beneficial renegotiation of post-marital location. A point of interest of our approach is that the magnitude and direction of transfers accompanying marriage are endogenous. We apply our theoretical results to understanding cross-cultural post-marital residence patters. We find some predictive ability in variables related to outside options, control over the environment, and potential degree of social control.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Wesleyan University, Department of Economics in its series Wesleyan Economics Working Papers with number 2005-006.

in new window

Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, April 2007, 23 (1): 208-241
Handle: RePEc:wes:weswpa:2005-006
Contact details of provider: Postal:
PAC 123, 238 Church Street, Middletown, CT 06459-0007

Phone: (860)685-2340
Fax: (860)685-2781
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  2. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Baker, Matthew & Miceli, Thomas J., 2005. "Land inheritance rules: theory and cross-cultural analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 77-102, January.
  4. Georg Noldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1995. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation: A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 163-179, Summer.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-82, March.
  6. Matthew J. Baker, 2003. "An Equilibrium Conflict Model of Land Tenure in Hunter-Gatherer Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 124-173, February.
  7. Konrad, Kai A. & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1996. "The Bargaining Family Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 1312, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2003. "Why Dowries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1385-1398, September.
  9. Michael Peters & Aloysius Siow, 2001. "Competing Premarital Investment," Working Papers peters-01-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  10. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  11. William P. Rogerson, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 777-793.
  12. Matthew J. Baker & Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2005. "Marriage, Specialization, and the Gender Division of Labor," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2005-001, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
  13. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Stark, Oded, 1987. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Bulletins 7515, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  14. Siwan Anderson, 2003. "Why Dowry Payments Declined with Modernization in Europe but Are Rising in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(2), pages 269-310, April.
  15. Che, Y.K. & Hausch, D.B., 1997. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," Working papers 9714, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  16. Greif, Avner, 1998. "Historical and Comparative Institutional Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 80-84, May.
  17. Rao, Vijayendra, 1993. "The Rising Price of Husbands: A Hedonic Analysis of Dowry Increases in Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 666-77, August.
  18. Williamson, Oliver E, 1983. "Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 519-40, September.
  19. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 473-494.
  20. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1984. "Specific Experience, Household Structure and Intergenerational Transfers: Farm Family Land and Labor Arrangements in Developing Countries," Bulletins 8432, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  21. Tai-Yeong Chung, 1991. "Incomplete Contracts, Specific Investments, and Risk Sharing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(5), pages 1031-1042.
  22. Yeon-Koo Che & Tai-Yeong Chung, 1999. "Contract Damages and Cooperative Investments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(1), pages 84-105, Spring.
  23. Anderson, C. Leigh & Swimmer, Eugene, 1997. "Some empirical evidence on property rights of first peoples," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 1-22, May.
  24. Stodder James, 1995. "The Evolution of Complexity in Primitive Exchange: Empirical Tests," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 190-210, April.
  25. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  26. Grimard, Franque & Hamilton, Barton, 1999. "Estimating the elderly's returns on the farm: evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 513-531, April.
  27. Moore, John & Repullo, Rafael, 1988. "Subgame Perfect Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1191-1220, September.
  28. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wes:weswpa:2005-006. 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: (Manolis Kaparakis)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.