The Telegraph has an article up about the impact of reduced cash incentives for women to divorce:
Fewer wives are being awarded income for life and they are increasingly having their divorce settlement limited to a few years.
This is making some of them back off from going through with a split, law firms say.
This should surprise no one. Incentives matter. Raise the cash reward paid to women who blow up their families, and more women will choose to blow up their families. Lower the cash reward, and more children will grow up with daddy in the home (but mommy is restricted from having sex with other men).
There is a less obvious but socially even more powerful impact of these cash incentives. Cash incentives aren’t just designed to blow up some families, they are designed to destabilize all families. As Wolfers and Stevenson explain in Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress, by encouraging wives to divorce, feminists are able to give wives power and control over their husbands (emphasis mine):
In the literature on the economics of the family there has been growing consensus on the need to take bargaining and distribution within marriage seriously. Such models of the family rely on a threat point to determine distribution within the household. The switch to a unilateral divorce regime redistributes power in a marriage, giving power to the person who wants out, and reducing the power previously held by the partner interested in preserving the marriage.
To see how divorce laws affect the external threat point, note that prior to unilateral divorce, a partner wishing to dissolve the marriage could leave without their spouse’s consent. However, in such a situation, a legal divorce is not granted and, as such, the right to remarry is forfeited. Under unilateral divorce the value of the exit threat increases for the unsatisfied spouse, as the right to remarry is retained regardless of the position of one’s spouse. Thus, the exit threat model predicts that changes in divorce regimes will have real effects. If the divorce threat is sufficiently credible, it may directly affect intrafamily bargaining outcomes without the option ever being exercised.
By slightly reducing the cash and prizes women receive as a reward for divorcing, UK judges are transferring some of the power in marriages back to the party that wants to honor the marriage vows (the husband).
H/T DR Smith