June 2006 – Marriage and the Family in Economic Theory and Policy

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In this very informative article, Maria Sophia Aguirre discusses the role of the family on economics, and the role of economics on the family.  She argues that the neoclassical economic understanding of the family as individuals acting from a motive of self-interest is woefully inadequate to forming sound economic policies.  This inadequacy essentially results from a failure to recognize two critical aspects of the family: that the family is better understand as a partnership than a mere contract ( i.e., the social reality of the family is not reducible to its individual members), and the gift of self that is implicit in the family operates on different principles than the mere exchange of goods (the distributive function).


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