The Price of Adultery: Evidence from Korean Judicial Decisions
Seoul Journal of Economics 28 (No. 4 2015): 377-388
12 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2015
Date Written: November 30, 2015
This study examines the determinants of compensation for pain and suffering (CPS) by using data extracted from divorce proceedings decisions of South Korean judges. Estimation results derived from the Heckman model indicate that adultery is responsible for a $4,120 increase in CPS, which is approximately 14% of the average. Korean judges attempt to deter adultery by imposing large CPS on adulterous spouses. Another finding also indicates that women receive more CPS than men by $5,837. Korean judges seem to consider that the mental suffering of women during marital breakups is greater than that of men. Additionally, a $1 million growth in a defendant's wealth increases CPS by only $3,800. Therefore, the defendant's ability to pay CPS is not a significant factor in assigning CPS value. Finally, CPS is unrelated to the division rate of marital property, which implies that Korean judges decide separately on the value of CPS and the division rates of marital property. Judges do not use their discretion to balance the two decisions during divorce proceedings.
Keywords: Divorce, Adultery, Compensation for pain and suffering, Judicial decisions
JEL Classification: J12, K42
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