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Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market

Shelly Lundberg and Robert A. Pollak
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 101, No. 6 (Dec., 1993), pp. 988-1010
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2138569
Page Count: 23
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Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market
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Abstract

This paper introduces the "separate spheres" bargaining model, a new model of distribution within marriage. It differs from divorce threat bargaining models (e.g., Manser-Brown, McElroy-Horney) in that the threat point is not divorce but a noncooperative equilibrium within marriage; this noncooperative equilibrium reflects traditional gender roles. The predictions of our model thus differ from those of divorce threat bargaining models; in the separate spheres model, cash transfer payments to the mother and payments to the father can--but need not--imply different equilibrium distributions in existing marriages. In the long run, the distributional effects of transfer policies may be substantially altered by changes in the marriage market equilibrium.

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