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Becker's theory of the family: Preposterous conclusions

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  • Barbara Bergmann
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    Abstract

    Economic 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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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

    Volume (Year): 1 (1995)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 141-150

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:1:y:1995:i:1:p:141-150

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    Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/RFEC20

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    Related research

    Keywords: Family; economic theory; polygamy; fertility; altruism;

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    Cited by:
    1. Lauk, Martina & Meyer, Susanne, 2003. "Familiale Arbeitsteilung: Determinanten in Theorie und Empirie," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 37294, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute of Economics (VWL).
    2. Burgoyne, Carole B. & Reibstein, Janet & Edmunds, Anne & Dolman, Valda, 2007. "Money management systems in early marriage: Factors influencing change and stability," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 214-228, April.
    3. Shelley Phipps, . "Economics and Well-Being of Canadian Children," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 35, McMaster University.
    4. Robert Pollak, 2003. "Gary Becker's Contributions to Family and Household Economics," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 111-141, January.
    5. Lauk, Martina & Meyer, Susanne, 2005. "Women, Men and Housework Time Allocation: Theory and Empirical Results," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 37209, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute of Economics (VWL).
    6. Mabsout, Ramzi & van Staveren, Irene, 2010. "Disentangling Bargaining Power from Individual and Household Level to Institutions: Evidence on Women's Position in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 783-796, May.
    7. Stephanie Seguino, 2005. "All types of inequality are not created equal: divergent impacts of inequality on economic growth," Working Papers 10, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, revised Oct 2005.
    8. J. Bonke & M. Deding & M. Lausten, 2006. "Time and Money: Substitutes in Real Terms and Complements in Satisfactions," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_451, Levy Economics Institute.
    9. Shelley A. Phipps & Peter S. Burton, 1996. "Collective Models of Family Behaviour: Implications for Economic Policy," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 22(2), pages 129-143, June.
    10. Shelley Phipps & Peter Burton & Lars Osberg, 2001. "Time as a Source of Inequality Within Marriage: Are Husbands More Satisfied With Time for Themselves than Wives?," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 1-21.
    11. Lourdes Beneria, 1999. "Globalization, Gender And The Davos Man," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 61-83.
    12. Wiktor Adamowicz & Michel Hanemann & Joffre Swait & Reed Johnson & David Layton & Michel Regenwetter & Torsten Reimer & Robert Sorkin, 2005. "Decision Strategy and Structure in Households: A “Groups” Perspective," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 387-399, December.
    13. Daumerie, Béatrice, 2003. "What Future for Europe? New perspectives in post-industrial fertility issues," Arbetsrapport 2003:7, Institute for Futures Studies.
    14. Robert Cherry, 1998. "Rational Choice and the Price of Marriage," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 27-49.

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