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Finding a New Home (Economics) : Towards a Science of the Rational Family, 1924-1981

Abstract : This dissertation traces the displacement of family economics from the periphery to the center of economics. I show that in the early twentieth century, most economists viewed the family as ruled by social norms – tradition, customs and morals. Accordingly, they did not regard the study of the family as coming within the scope of economics. Women economists who had an interest in family were able to create a separate family economics field within home economics departments in the late 1920s and early 1930s. This field explored the structural constraints on household behavior and was geared towards increasing family welfare. Because household behavior seemed so different from market behavior and because it was a female field, studies on the family remained marginal within economics. After World War II, economists began to interest themselves in consumption and from the 1960s they accounted for a wide range of family behaviors using a utility maximization framework. As family economics became mainstream, it was masculinized.
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Agnès Le Tollec. Finding a New Home (Economics) : Towards a Science of the Rational Family, 1924-1981. Economies et finances. Université Paris-Saclay, 2020. Français. ⟨NNT : 2020UPASN006⟩. ⟨tel-02881966⟩

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