The American Family and Family Economics

34 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2007 Last revised: 10 Apr 2021

See all articles by Shelly J. Lundberg

Shelly J. Lundberg

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Bergen - Department of Economics

Robert A. Pollak

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2007

Abstract

The twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of Gary Becker's path-breaking "Treatise on the Family" provides an occasion to reexamine both the American family and family economics. We begin by discussing how families have changed in recent decades: the separation of sex, marriage, and childbearing; fewer children and smaller households; converging work and education patterns for men and women; class divergence in partnering and parenting strategies; and the replacement of what had been family functions and home production by government programs and market transactions. After discussing recent work in family economics that attempts to explain these changes, we point out some challenging areas for further analysis, and highlight issues of commitment in two primary family relationships: those between men and women, and those between parents and children. We conclude by discussing the effectiveness of policies to target benefits to certain family members (e.g., children) or to promote marriage and fertility.

Suggested Citation

Lundberg, Shelly J. and Pollak, Robert A., The American Family and Family Economics (February 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w12908, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=963741

Shelly J. Lundberg

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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University of Bergen - Department of Economics ( email )

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Robert A. Pollak (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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