The Economics of the Family and Family Policy
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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.
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Chapter 8: Family Protection and Pro-Natalist Policies

Francisco Cabrillo


Page 134 8.  Family protection and pro­natalist policies  1  FAMILY PROTECTION AND INCENTIVATION OF MOTHERHOOD: A HISTORICAL CONSTANT Governments have practically always regulated family life and have used the fiscal system to set incentives for certain types of behaviour, especially with respect to  growth in the birth rate. There have been many societies which, at various times, were concerned to increase their population. In some cases the aim was to defend  certain special characteristics that were under threat from other cultures and, in others, it was to meet the need to populate large deserted areas in countries undergoing  colonization. But the most usual motivation was undoubtedly the idea that there is a direct link between the power of a nation and the number of its inhabitants.  And from Roman times to the twentieth century a tradition can be detected in the history of political and economic thinking that directly links the variables of population  and power. Some general characteristics can be mentioned. In all cases, there were certain group values that the authorities considered of more importance than  individual values. It was also accepted that the instruments of power—laws, public office or taxation—could be used to attain the objectives set. And, of most interest  to us, although it is women who give birth and care for children, most of the measures for increasing the birth rate were addressed not to women but to men. It was men  who were punished by higher taxation or the withdrawal of...

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