Gender Division of Labor and Alimony

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Waka Cheung ; Yew-Kwang Ng (2011)
  • Subject: Gender; division of labor; alimony; spousal support; marriage; specialization.
    • jel: jel:D13 | jel:C7 | jel:D8

According to the principle of comparative advantage, the gender division of labor is utility enhancing during marriage. However, in the long term it decreases the earning power of the party who specializes in housework. Once the marriage is dissolved she/he will be the losing party and hence should be compensated by the other party, who specializes in paid work which usually involves higher degree in the accumulation of human capital. As an effective means of compensation, it is shown formally that alimony may promote the gender division of labor and improve Pareto efficiency. The rule of remarriage termination of alimony is doubly inefficient by reducing gender division of labor and by discouraging efficient remarriages.
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