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Household Behavior and Social Norms : A Conjugal Contract Model

Author

Listed:
  • Elisabeth Cudeville

    () (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Magali Recoules

    () (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

We present a model of household behavior to explore the complex interactions between the decision-making process within the household and social norms. The household is viewed as two separate spheres – the female and the male – both linked by a public good and a "conjugal contract" trough which spouses exchange resources. The conjugal contract negotiated within the couple is partly influenced by social norms given the conformism of individuals. Social norms are endogenously determined as the average conjugal contract. We find that the closer spouses' wages are in the labor market, the more equally they share household tasks. Wage policies promoting gender wage equality lead all couples to renegotiate the terms of their conjugal contract, which in turn changes social norms. Even though spouses aim at maximizing the household's welfare, the resulting equilibrium allocation is not Pareto efficient and inefficiency increases with social conformism.

Suggested Citation

  • Elisabeth Cudeville & Magali Recoules, 2009. "Household Behavior and Social Norms : A Conjugal Contract Model," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00429609, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00429609
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00429609
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