Working Paper

Family Economics Writ Large

Abstract: Powerful currents have reshaped the structure of families over the last century. There has been (i) a dramatic drop in fertility and greater parental investment in children; (ii) a rise in married female labor-force participation; (iii) a significant decline in marriage and a rise in divorce; (iv) a higher degree of positive assortative mating; (v) more children living with a single mother; (vi) shifts in social norms governing premarital sex and married women's roles in the workplace. Macroeconomic models explaining these aggregate trends are surveyed. The relent-less flow of technological progress and its role in shaping family life are stressed.

Keywords: Assortative mating; baby boom; baby bust; family economics; female labor supply; fertility; household income inequality; household production; human capital; macroeconomics; marriage and divorce; quality-quantity tradeoff; premarital sex; quantitative theory; single mothers; social change; survey paper; technological progress; women’s rights;

JEL Classification: D1; E2; J1; O1; O4; Z1;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 2017-01-30

Number: 2016-26

Pages: 79 pages