Job Market Paper
Not a small factory, but a club:
a property rights approach to the household institution
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New Household Economics literature, based on Becker’s work, conceptualizes the household using rational choice theory, looking at it through the prism of individual maximizing behavior informed by market prices. In this paper I present an alternative institutionalist conceptualization that characterizes the household as a club and the services it produces as club goods. Instead of individual maximization, the club approach focuses on the underlying ‘property rights regime’ of the economic system that bestows a stewardship role to the household over the supply of labor power. The paper first reviews the different extant criticisms that explicate why the individual maximization framework falls short in theorizing how labor supply works. It then presents the alternative approach that looks at the household through a collective action prism and creates a bridge between natural resource economics and the household.
My research agenda is the reevaluation of economic concepts and practices through a prism of collective action, not individual maximizing behavior. My dissertation lays the ground work for this agenda by developing a collective action approach to the household institution and demonstrating how its application leads to conclusions different from the standard neoclassical approach.
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