DP6703 Love and Taxes - and Matching Institutions
We study a setting with search frictions in the marriage market and with incomplete contracting inside the family. Everyone prefers a partner that has a high income and is a perfect emotional match, but compromises must often be struck. A high-income earner may abstain from marrying a low-income earner even though they would be a perfect match emotionally, because he may dislike the implicit income redistribution implied by marriage. Redistributive income taxation may ease this problem. Income matching institutions that secure that people from the same income groups largely meet each other can substitute for redistribution, so that optimal redistribution is reduced. We also introduce a divorce option. Redistributive taxation is shown both to further and stabilize marriage.