Happily ever after? Intrahousehold bargaining and the distribution of utility within marriage

Dirk Bethmann, Robert Rudolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Using a rich longitudinal data set of married couples from the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study, this article seeks to uncover the intramarital allocation of experienced utility and its drivers. We find both substantial gains from marriage and effects of relative predicted earnings outside of marriage on relative gains from marriage. These findings are consistent with cooperative bargaining models and with models viewing individuals as having a demand for household production services by a spouse, with market forces influencing the price of such services. In addition, we find that men benefit more from marriage than women and that this gender gap is more pronounced for older couples. This is likely to be due to social norms and prescribed gender roles which are more prevalent within the older generation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-376
Number of pages30
JournalReview of Economics of the Household
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the Editor and an unknown reviewer for their very helpful comments. They further would like to thank the participants of the 24th IAFFE Annual Conference, the 11th World Congress of the Econometric Society and the 1st World Congress of Comparative Economics for valuable comments. The paper further benefitted from fruitful discussions with Stephan Klasen, Inma Martinez-Zarzoso, Jinyoung Kim, Beomsoo Kim, Seik Kim, and Sung-jin Kang. This research benefitted from Korea University (KU) research funding. Bethmann’s research was supported by the KU grant K1509031.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Gender asymmetry
  • Generation effect
  • Happiness
  • Intrahousehold bargaining
  • Marriage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Happily ever after? Intrahousehold bargaining and the distribution of utility within marriage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this