Economics in a Family Way
This paper is an advertisement for some facts and ideas that I think likely to lead to a richer theory of the economics of the family. The discussion references many papers from anthropology and biology. Because of the intimate connection between the family and reproduction, it should not be surprising that there is much to be learned about the economics of the family from the study of evolutionary biology. Given the increased prevalence in recent decades of unwed parenthood, divorce with sequential monogamy, and ``non-traditional'' family arrangements, it also seems plausible that anthropological studies of alternative family structures would help us to understand our own. The first section presents an evolutionary theory of interpersonal sympathy among family members. It discusses the genetic theory of kin selection and its implications for human preferences and relate these ideas to theories of the cultural evolution of preferences. The next section takes an evolutionary viewpoint in exploring the riddles posed by the demographic transition and the question of intergenerational flows of wealth. The third section discusses non-monogamous family structures in our own culture and in other cultures. The final section draws on a more traditional source of inspiration for economists. This section outlines an approach to bargaining theory within the family based on recent discoveries in non-cooperative game theory and discusses ways of integrating the theory of spousal bargaining with the theory of marriage markets.(Revised, January 1966)
|Date of creation:||13 Jul 1995|
|Date of revision:||06 Feb 1996|
|Note:||postscript, IBM PC with NextSTep OS, TeX, Postscript, pages: 38; figures: included. To appear in Journal of Economic Literature|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ronald Lee, 1980. "Age Structure, Intergenerational Transfers and Economic Growth : an Overview," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 31(6), pages 1129-1156.
- Ted Bergstrom, 1994.
"On the Economics of Polygyny,"
- Ted Bergstrom, 1994. "On the Economics of Polygyny," Papers _026, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
- Theodore C. Bergstrom, . "On the Economics of Polygyny," ELSE working papers 042, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
- Ted Bergstrom, . "On the Economic of Polygyny," Papers _032, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
- Bergstrom, T.C., 1993.
"A Survey of Theories of the Family,"
93-02, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
- Ted Bergstrom, .
"Primogeniture, Monogamy, and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society,"
_031, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
- Ted Bergstrom, . "Primogeniture, Monogamy, and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society," Papers _025, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
- Theodore C. Bergstrom, . "Primogeniture, Monogamy and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society," ELSE working papers 044, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
- Ted Bergstrom, 1994. "Primogeniture, Monogamy and Reproductive Success in a Stratified Society," Meeting papers 9410001, EconWPA, revised 10 Oct 1994.
- Donald Cox & Oded Stark, 1996. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Demonstration Effect," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 329., Boston College Department of Economics.
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