Division of Marital Assets in High Asset Divorces
41 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 15, 2019
Upon divorce, marital assets in most states are divided equitably, often with the underlying legal purpose of equalizing outcomes. To examine whether decisionmakers value economic considerations, such as opportunity cost, specialization, and bargaining power, we asked subjects to divide marital assets equitably between a breadwinning husband and non-breadwinning wife in a wealthy household. Subjects award less than 50 percent of assets to the wife, regardless of her education or the level of marital assets. Men award lower shares but, unlike women, award a larger share to a more educated wife. Equitable division can lead to unequal outcomes for wives who opt out of the labor force.
Keywords: divorce, equitable division, equality, gender
JEL Classification: J12, K36, D13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation