How "Chicagoan" are Gary Becker's Economic Models of Marriage?
This paper describes Gary Becker’s theoretical models of marriage. At the micro-level, these are all rational choice models. At the market level, Becker offers two major types of models: partial equilibrium models based on Price Theory as taught by Marshall and Friedman and optimal sorting models based on optimal assignment models. The paper examines some of the possible intellectual influences on Becker’s theory of marriage, compares Becker’s research on marriage with that of some scholars interested in intra-marriage distribution, and documents that Becker’s students at Chicago were more interested in Becker’s Friedmanian models of marriage than in his optimal assignment models.
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