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The Discourse of 'Contract' and the Law of Marriage

39 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2006  

Thomas Wuil Joo

University of California, Davis - School of Law


Marriage is often compared to a "contract." The contract analogy appears to be an argument about the law of marriage based on a settled concept called "contract." But it is in fact an assertion of a contested view of "contract": that legitimate obligation must derive from consent. This focus on consent ignores another, contradictory, strand of contract law that imposes obligations without consent. The pervasiveness of the consent-centered "contract" analogy affects our understanding of "contract" as much as it affects our understanding of marriage.

Keywords: Law and Economics, Contract, Marriage, Divorce

JEL Classification: K12, K36, J12, D86

Suggested Citation

Joo, Thomas Wuil, The Discourse of 'Contract' and the Law of Marriage. University of California at Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 95; Research in Law and Economics, Vol. 22, 2007. Available at SSRN:

Thomas Joo (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

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