Marriage strategies and economic issues in couple relationships

The development of new forms of union that do not involve marriage (cohabitation, civil union) and the rise in divorce and separation are two major societal changes with economic repercussions.
The general aim of this project is to study the economic determinants and effects of marriage and other types of union and union breakup. A key factor in choice of union type and possible separation is how partners allocate paid and unpaid work time.
The first avenue of research, then, concerns the persistence of gender inequalities in degree of participation in housework and parenting tasks: relations between union type and partners’ respective levels of specialization will be studied. Attention will then be turned to the economic effects of separation and divorce, particularly the role played by public and private transfers.
Another focus is accumulation of wealth within the couple and wealth distribution by type of marriage contract. Trends in the use of marriage contracts are studied from the nineteenth century to the present.
Lastly, the project will be particularly attentive to older persons, a category not studied much in the economic literature, with a focus on partners’ behaviour in old age but also implications for the couple relationship of one partner becoming dependent.

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