Cause and Effect in Contracting Trends
The Moscow Times reports:
“According to official state data, of the nearly 1.2 million Russian couples who registered marriages in 2009, only about 25,000 — or about 2 percent — sealed contracts stipulating the terms of a divorce.
And that’s with roughly 58 percent of the country’s marriages eventually falling apart.
In the United States, most estimates show that about 4 percent of couples now sign a prenuptial contract, although the divorce rate there is about 43 percent.”
What explains the difference? Is it:
(1) A culturally-based view of love and contract? That’s what the reporter concluded: “A prenuptial agreement treats the wife and husband as equal parties . . . is unacceptable for Russia’s traditional patriarchal view of the family . . .’Russians believe that love and a marriage contract are incompatible,’ [said Alexander Tesler, a Moscow-based psychotherapist.]”
(2) Russians’ distrust of courts and private contractual instruments, given the courts’ dubious history of nonbiased adjudication?
My money is on #2. How could we test the theory? The best approach would be to find a society with a better score on court performance than Russia’s, but which shares its “traditional patriarchal view of the family.” I’ll take nominations.