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Money in the Bank: Transaction Costs and the Economic Organization of Marriage

Judith Treas
American Sociological Review
Vol. 58, No. 5 (Oct., 1993), pp. 723-734
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096283
Page Count: 12
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Money in the Bank: Transaction Costs and the Economic Organization of Marriage
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Abstract

Although most husbands and wives pool their assets, others hold money back from the common pot. The choice between "collectivized" and "privatized" financial organization depends, in part, on which is more efficient--which minimizes transaction costs in organizing marital exchanges. Insights from the "new institutional economics" suggest that segregated assets are associated with lower expectations for marital continuity, fewer investments unique to the relationship, and ease in measuring contributions to the marriage. Data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation support the notion that couples organize their finances in order to minimize the transaction costs of married life.

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