Family economics


One of the new development trends of modern microeconomics "research from economics to other fields", there are family economics in cross-sectors with sociology, Representatives is the University of Chicago, Cali Becker, Economics and Sociology, Chicago University. He has successfully analyzed a large number of sociological problems due to the creation of microeconomic methods, and has obtained the 1992 Nobel Economics Award and became the pioneer of family social behavior. In the introduction of time in Becker's theory, the extensive family behavior, such as fertility behavior, marriage market, and family labor division of labor.

Research object

Becker believes that family activities are not only a simple consumption activity, but also a production activity, which produces some "satisfaction." Any production behavior can be regarded as a combination of various inputs that take to get a output. In order to achieve the greatest satisfaction, the family uses a large number of production materials required for various consumer goods and home production from the market, and also uses time resources. These human resources, material resources, and time resources consumed, are always limited, scarce, so families is to make efforts to maximize the utility of family resources. Here, the currency income is added to time income, which constitutes the total income of family members to achieve utility, satisfaction. Like other rational economists, this producer is the production decision-making decision-making, reasonably allocation to try to achieve the best combination every day to try to reach the best combination to obtain a double constraint of family members. The biggest satisfaction, achieving the goal of maximizing home production utility.

Birth rate

Using the concept of opportunity costs to analyze family fertility, fertility behavior can be seen as a behavior of people's life production, and the child is cared for adult needs to cost human resources, capital And time, etc., you need to use a scarce family resource; and the child can bring satisfaction to parents; parents can choose to choose children's problems (how much, when, when you are born, etc.). Although people still don't accept this theory, this economic analysis method can be used to interpret fertility.

Using the concept of opportunity costs to partially explain the low birth rate and high-babirth rate of developed countries and developing countries. In developed countries, with more women enter the labor market, and the increase in household income, we have seen such a phenomenon: the birth rate is declining. A long time ago, classical economists believe that income will stimulate the birth of children. Becker's analysis has increased - an important assumption: The factors that determine the population growth are not just the level of income, but also determine the relative "price" of the child. The complete cost of stotting your child depends not only on the direct cost of the boy, but also on the opportunity costs that parents are suffering, these opportunities increase with the increase of household income, especially with the increase of mother's income. As a result, we have seen the tendency against birth children with economic growth in developed countries. In most developing countries, especially in poor countries dominated by agricultural production, their children represent direct labor investment, their parents regard them as quite valuable source of labor, and these countries Labor wages are generally very low, and the cost of raising children is always maintained at a low level, thus led to excessive growth of the population. Conversely, in the developed country, the "price" of the added child is high, because the child not only does not use the value of direct labor, but the parents raise the child is also very high, the parents therefore Don't want to increase the number of birth children, but increase spending on education, housing, and other items to improve their quality of life and its existing children.

Family planning significance

This is an important revelation of our family planning control population policy, because with the improvement of household income, the family's investment needs of children's human capital It will increase more, and the result is that the family will reduce the number of people's number of children, while increasing the investment of human capital for each child. so. Improve the level of household income is a possible way to reduce the number of populations, while the family planning department should strengthen the education of parents, and vigorously promote the benefits and methods of human investment in children, which is also conducive to the majority of families choose less eugenics.

Marriage Issues

Becker regards marriage as an economic organization form, and the appointment will be regarded as an investment of future spouse information collected, and thinks most Successful marriage except for both husband and wife with each other, their preferences and values ​​are basically consistent. In Becker, "Marriage is a contract that does not have a completely defined responsibility of the parties in the parties. When we regard marriage as - when there is no fully defined contract, marriage means that everyone in the partner must sacrifice certain independence, make many personal habits, dating methods and expenditure directions. Compromise; in terms of income, marriage provides partnerships, care and love, and provide convenient conditions for breeding children. Marriage costs include opportunities costs and transaction costs: transaction cost refers to the direct-related fees that are directly related to marriage and divorce, and opportunity cost refers to the pursuit of a state of benefits. The opportunity cost of marriage is to keep single The benefits of the benefits and divorce are the benefits of maintaining marriage. Becker believes that two people will only marry only if they are greater than those gains from single.

In addition, marriage also provides an opportunity to make both parties to enjoy the economies you have obtained from labor and division of labor. As long as the skills of the spouse are different, the income of husband and wife from professional division of labor and transactions will be potentially huge. Therefore, economists suggest that people are looking for a partner, it is best to match in production, and are in front of life. For example, people with a relatively advantage of market production are best looking for people who have a relatively advantage of family production, which will promote family professional division of labor, reaching a larger family output: In contrast, both husband and wife have the same interest hobby It is conducive to increasing the happiness of the family, thereby increasing the result of marriage, maximizing the positive use of marriage. But there is also a "search cost" problem with marriage. Since the information is not symmetrical in the marriage market, the information is not symmetrical and the information is not sufficient, some people feel that the search for the process of searching for a search cost. And there is a hunt for marriage, so you can choose to keep single; it is also due to the high search cost, leading to more people may easily be negatively negative with the production aspects (same production characteristics) A person with (with different consumer fun) marriage, the result reduces the quality of marriage, which is the most common phenomenon we see in actual life.

Divorce rate

The marriage theory of family economics can also be explained, the possible cause of the reduction in marriage rate in modern society and the increase in divorce rate. With the advancement of society and the liberation of women, it is great to alleviate the society's discrimination against women, and the more and more women have become engineers, lawyers and doctors, many areas of the market, have put education and other human resources. Capital investment opportunities extend to women. As a result, the gap between the labor skills between men and women is getting smaller and smaller. As labor skills are getting more similar, traditional home division of labor modes have changed to a large extent, so that the professional and trading between men and women formed by the original marriage organization is significantly less and less. NS. The distance between the expectations and marriage reality of marriage is an important factor in divorce. If the individual's other factors do not consider individual factors, the reduction in home marriage benefits will result in an increase in marriage rate and divorce rate, this It can be confirmed from many developed countries including the actual social situation in my country's economic development regions in recent years.

Employment decision

The family is both a consumer unit and a production unit, or an investment unit is a comprehensive economic body. As Becker said: "The family is actually a small production unit. It combines capital, raw materials and labor to use, support and produce other useful products." As mentioned earlier, when we treat time costs and market items At the time, the theory of the traditional choice between work and leisure is injected into new content, and it is studied in the market work, the choice between family production and leisure.

Labor division of labor

Home production refers to the production of material products within the family, market work refers to the production of market products outside the family, and these production activities require family payable human resources. , Material resources and time resources, the resulting benefits are mainly currency income; leisure is another family production activity, which is a direct production satisfaction, it can meet the needs of family members. There is a certain alternative relationship between work and leisure, and simple leisure must be given up for work income. If the value of the working time is high, the family will increase the assignment of working hours; it will increase, it will increase the distribution of leisure time until the marginal work is equal to the time value of marginal leisure. When the wage rate rises, it means that every hour of work will exchange more items, and the family will tend to increase market working hours, reduce housework working hours, and it is more expensive to be relatively expensive, so family tendency Get more income with less spending leisure, with more time to work. The same is true on the distribution of working hours, and if the value of the market is high, the family will provide labor elements to the market; it will increase the working hours of the home, and serve themselves. It is the problem of how labor within home is laborious. According to economics, the division of domestic labor should be based on the principle of relative advantages: the high market productivity should be used in the market work; and the family productivity is all used for housework. In this way, the family can get the largest amount of items and leisure, so that the maximum satisfaction of utility will increase family benefits. Employment is the main way for families get income. The family has the right to employ employment or not employment. When is the job, how much time work and what kind of work are engaged in. That is to say, the family effectively allocates the limited time in market activities, housework and entertainment, to achieve the greatest satisfaction.


Family as an integrated economic behavior subject, according to the volatility of time value, can make rational arrangements for family production, family consumption, family decision-making to achieve family happiness to maximize For the ultimate goal. But no economist (including Becker himself) will think that in explaining social phenomenon, economics is the only or center element, and contemporary microeconomics only provides new insights from some side facing human behavior. Force, supplementing the shortcomings of other social sciences, which ultimately it is a method of analyzing the problem, and the subsequent economic researchers have opened a special window to open a new idea.

Related Articles