DP13570 The dynamics of family systems: lessons from past and present times

Author(s): Catherine Guirkinger, Jean-Philippe Platteau
Publication Date: March 2019
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Programme Areas: Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13570

The present paper surveys significant research dealing with some neglected roles of the family and its dynamics in the presence of changes in the economic environment. Attention is thus directed to the response of family systems to changes in resource endowments, outside economic opportunities, the development of markets, and surrounding institutions. Two other original features of our investigation deserve to be emphasized. First, unlike what is generally done in economics, we extensively draw from scholarly works of social scientists, family historians in particular. Second, in order to shed light on family dynamics in present-day developing countries, we assess the state of knowledge about the transformation of family patterns in Europe during a long period stretching back to the early Middle Ages and even earlier.