Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 10 No. 4 (Fall 1996)


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Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage

Article Citation

Lundberg, Shelly, and Robert A. Pollak. 1996. "Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 10(4): 139-158.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.10.4.139


The standard economic model of the family is a 'common preference' model that assumes that a family maximizes a single utility function and implies that family behavior is independent of which individuals receive income or control resources. In recent years, this model has been challenged by game-theoretic models of marriage that do not impose 'pooling' and are, therefore, consistent with empirical evidence that income controlled by husbands and wives does have different effects on family behavior. In this paper, the authors review a number of simple bargaining models and relevant empirical evidence, and discuss their implications for distribution within marriage.

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Lundberg, Shelly (U WA)
Pollak, Robert A. (Washington U, St Louis)

JEL Classifications

J12: Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse


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