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Retrospectives: Classical Family Values: Ending the Poor Laws as They Knew Them

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  • Joseph Persky

Abstract

Poor law reform in the early 1830s provides a key example of the deep conflicts between classical liberal principles of self-reliance and the realities of dependency. Eminent economists, such as Nassau Senior and Thomas Malthus, argued that the dependency of women and children calls forth and motivates its own support from the altruism of husbands and fathers. Like modern welfare reformers, the classical economists asserted the natural necessity and sufficiency of such dependency and ignored its powerful implications for the intergenerational perpetuation of a highly illiberal inequality of opportunity.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.11.1.179
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 11 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 179-189

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:11:y:1997:i:1:p:179-89

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.11.1.179
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  1. Blaug, Mark, 1963. "The Myth of the Old Poor Law and the Making of the New," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(02), pages 151-184, June.
  2. Joseph Persky, 1998. "Wage Slavery," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 30(4), pages 627-651, Winter.
  3. Blaug, Mark, 1964. "The Poor Law Report Reexamined," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(02), pages 229-245, June.
  4. David Neumark & Sanders D. Korenman, 1988. "Does marriage really make men more productive?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Daniel, K., 1991. "Does Marriage Make Men More Productive?," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-2, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  6. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert W. Dimand & Evelyn L. Forget & Chris Nyland, 2004. "Retrospectives: Gender in Classical Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 229-240, Winter.
  2. Fang, Hanming & Silverman, Dan, 2004. "On the compassion of time-limited welfare programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1445-1470, July.

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