The Neoclassical and Bargaining Family Model Essay

The Neoclassical and Bargaining Family Model Essay

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The way the traditional married couple family--the breadwinner-husband and homemaker-wife--evolved over time can be analyzed through both the neoclassical and the bargaining model of the family. The neoclassical model depicts how a family’s well-being or utility is maximized by selecting the combination of commodities from which the family derives the greatest satisfaction. Furthermore, the simple neoclassical model points to important efficiency gains arising from the traditional division of labor in which the husband specializes in market work and the wife specializes in home work. Nevertheless, such an arrangement is less and less prevalent. On the other hand, the bargaining model allows for the husbands and wives to have different preferences, with outcomes determined through a process of bargaining. The bargaining power of each spouse is determined by his/her threat point, the level of well-being that each would attain if they cannot reach a cooperative solution within the marriage. When put together, these two models can help one understand changes in the family that have occurred since the 1950’s.
The way the neoclassical model demonstrates how families have evolved over time is through the idea of specialization and exchange. Specialization began during a time when the family was large and life was short. In addition, market wages in jobs available to women were low, so that women’s relative advantage for home work was great. It was frequently the case that women were relatively more productive in the home and men were relatively more productive in the market. A reason for this was men and women were traditionally raised with different expectations and receive different education and training; therefore, women automatical...


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...lence against women or police policies that instructed officers to investigate these crimes (Makers: Part 3). Over time, the adoptions of unilateral divorce laws have been found to reduce domestic violence due to the fact that a woman’s relative bargaining power increased. With this increase in bargaining power for women, if a woman today was subjected to abuse, they would take advantage of their rights and do what’s best for her and her children by using her bargaining power and get a divorce. In general, the way family hold up has changed with improvements in women’s labor market opportunities alongside the decline in marriage, the increase in divorce, and decline of domestic violence.
Analyzing the changes that took place in the family through the neoclassical and bargaining model of the family, it is safe to say that the American family is not what it once was.

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