A Treatise on the Family, Enlarged Edition

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1991 - Family & Relationships - 424 pages
3 Reviews

Imagine each family as a kind of little factory--a multiperson unit producing meals, health, skills, children, and self-esteem from market goods and the time, skills, and knowledge of its members. This is only one of the remarkable concepts explored by Gary Becker in his landmark work on the family.Becker applies economic theory to the most sensitive and fateful personal decisions, such as choosing a spouse or having children. He uses the basic economic assumptions of maximizing behavior, stable preferences, arid equilibria in explicit or implicit markets to analyze the allocation of time to child care as well as to careers, to marriage and divorce in polygynous as well as monogamous societies, to the increase and decrease of wealth from one generation to another.

The consideration of the family from this perspective has profound theoretical and practical implications. For example, Becker's analysis of assortative mating can be used to study matching processes generally. Becker extends the powerful tools of economic analysis to problems once considered the province of the sociologist, the anthropologist, and the historian. The obligation of these scholars to take account of his work thus constitutes an important step in the unification of the social sciences.

A Treatise on the Family will have an impact on public policy as well. Becker shows that social welfare programs have significant effects on the allocation of resources within families. For example, social security taxes tend to reduce the amount of resources children give to their aged parents. The implications of these findings are obvious and far-reaching.

With the publication of this extraordinary hook, the family moves to the forefront of the research agenda in the social sciences.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - heidilove - LibraryThing

this is an interesting look at the family from an economoic point of view. the narrative isn't really a narrative, and one has to be able to translate equations into the point, as Becker doesn't ... Read full review

Review: A Treatise on the Family

User Review  - Ay - Goodreads

What a frustrating way to spend an evening. The economic models of the family don't work, so you...remodel the family to make them work in the model??? Read, if only to know how to reference it as a seminal text of economics of the family. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
7
SinglePerson Households
20
Division of Labor in Households and Families
30
Copyright

15 other sections not shown

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References to this book

On Ethics and Economics
Amartya Sen
No preview available - 1991
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About the author (1991)

Gary Stanley Becker is an American economist known for his efforts to extend economic analysis to social problems, especially those involving race and gender discrimination, crime and punishment, and the formation and dissolution of families. The essence of his contribution is that human behaviors rationally based on self-interest and the economic incentives of the marketplace. Cost-benefit analysis is central to Becker's analysis of social phenomena. He argues that couples tend to have fewer children when the wife works and has a better-paying job, when subsidies and tax deductions for dependents are smaller, and when the cost of educating children rises. Becker also argues that couples divorce when they no longer believe they are better off by staying married. Becker received a Nobel Prize in 1992.

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