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Tying the Double-Knot: The Role of Assets in Marriage Commitment

Jeanne Lafortune and Corinne Low

American Economic Review, 2017, vol. 107, issue 5, 163-67

Abstract: What explains the growing gap in marriage rates between socioeconomic groups? We present a robust stylized fact not previously documented: marriage rates are higher for individuals with more assets. We argue this may be driven by marriage and cohabitation becoming increasingly similar in a number of ways except for the way assets become marital property to be divided upon divorce in marriage while they remain individual property in the case of cohabitation. We propose that ownership of assets may provide "insurance" to the partner making individually costly, but jointly optimal, investments in children, thus raising the value of marriage.

JEL-codes: D14 D31 J12 K36 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20171058
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