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Economics in a Family Way

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  • Theodore C. Bergstrom

Abstract

This paper argues that the economics of the family can be much enriched by incorporating recent developments in evolutionary biology, animal behavior studies, cultural evolution, anthropology, and game theory. Evolutionary foundations of sympathy between relatives are explored. Applications of the theory of cultural evolution to the demographic transition and to wealth transfers between generations are investigated. The economics of marital institutions such as polygyny, polyandry, and matriarchy are discussed, as well as recent work by economists on non-monogamous mating arrangements in our own society. Applications of recent developments in non-cooperative bargaining theory and matching theory to the theory of marriage are presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore C. Bergstrom, 1996. "Economics in a Family Way," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1903-1934, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:34:y:1996:i:4:p:1903-1934
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    1. Donald Cox & Oded Stark, 1993. "Intergenerational Transfers And Demonstration Effect," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 244, Boston College Department of Economics.
    2. Theodore C. Bergstrom, "undated". "On the Economics of Polygyny," ELSE working papers 042, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
    3. Ted Bergstrom, "undated". "Primogeniture, Monogamy, and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society," Papers _031, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
    4. Bergstrom, Theodore C., 1993. "A survey of theories of the family," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 21-79, Elsevier.
    5. Bergstrom, Ted, 1989. "Love and Spaghetti, the Opportunity Cost of Virtue," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 165-173, Spring.
    6. Ronald Lee, 1980. "Age Structure, Intergenerational Transfers and Economic Growth : an Overview," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 31(6), pages 1129-1156.
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