Becker's theory of the family: Preposterous conclusions
AbstractEconomic theory as applied to the family should increase our understanding of the phenomena we are studying, and allow us to implement fruitful intervention in cases where we are not satisfied with what is occurring. Much if not all of the theory of the family fails to achieve these aims. Examples are given from the most recent edition of Gary Becker's Theory of the Family, where the analysis leads to conclusions that are, on their face, preposterous. This kind of theorizing leads, as does almost all neoclassical theory, to a conclusion that the institutions depicted are benign, and that government intervention would be useless at best and probably harmful. But it isn't necessarily so.
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