The Economics of the Family and Family Policy

The Economics of the Family and Family Policy

Francisco Cabrillo

This comprehensive and authoritative book offers a global approach to the modern economics of the family, family law and family policy. Beginning with the division of labour in the family, this book deals with the economics of marriage, the demand for children, inter-generational relationships, and the economics of inheritance. The family is analysed using the theory of utility maximisation assuming that individuals wish to achieve the greatest possible satisfaction with limited resources and imperfect knowledge. The family is examined from both long and short term perspectives, and it is assumed that the family is cooperative with incentives for altruistic behaviour greater than in any other social group.

Chapter 6: The Intergenerational Pact

Francisco Cabrillo

Subjects: development studies, family and gender policy, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, family and gender policy


Page 102 6.  The intergenerational pact 1  MUTUAL ASSISTANCE BETWEEN PARENTS AND CHILDREN The whole of society is organized for the protection of its youngest members. Care is normally undertaken by families and it is the parents who see to the maintenance  and welfare of their children until they are able to look after themselves. This is the principal provision of the tacit agreement amongst the generations that has always  been the basis of human society. But there are some parents who cannot, or do not want to, care for their children, because they lack the necessary resources. Their personal circumstances prevent  them from bearing such a responsibility or, quite simply, they are not interested in their children. Although obviously not the general rule, this does occur with relative  frequency. The law establishes some minimum obligations, which would be unnecessary if all the members of society were altruistic towards their descendants and  which, if not fulfilled, may lead to the loss of the parents’ rights over their children. In the same way, the law also fixes certain obligations for children with respect to  their parents if the latter are unable to look after themselves. Legal regulation of the links between parents and children has resulted from a long historical process that has been manifest in customs and religious precepts as much  as in civil legislation. The specific conditions set down in each society or culture have varied, with age, heritage or sex being used as criteria to establish a variety...

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