Becker’s Theories of Marriage and the Shrinking Role of Demand and Supply Models
This paper argues that Gary Becker has been a leader in the economics of marriage not only as a pioneer but also as a leader who influenced the work of other economists who entered this field over at least two decades. A comprehensive survey of economic research on marriage is presented for the years 1970-1993. A distinction is drawn between earlier entrants and later entrants, the dividing line being 1980, coinciding with the publication of Becker’s seminal Treatise on the Family. In his first article on marriage in the JPE in 1973, Becker gave more prominence to Demand & Supply [D&S] models than he later did in the Treatise. It appears that a similar movement away from D&S models is observed among later entrants. This is but one indication of Becker’s leadership in the economics of marriage in the period 1980-1993. Other indications are also discussed.
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