Women’s neoclassical models of marriage, 1972–2015

Authored by: Shoshana Grossbard , Charlotte Phelps

The Routledge Handbook of the History of Women’s Economic Thought

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138852341
eBook ISBN: 9781315723570
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



In 1972 Charlotte Phelps published “Is the household obsolete?” in the Papers and Proceedings of the prestigious American Economic Review. This densely written seven-page article presents the foundations of a theory of couple formation and of in-couple individual allocation of resources and distribution of goods. It is a pioneering contribution that predates Gary Becker’s (1973) much better known economic theory of marriage. So far Phelps’ original ideas on marriage have not been expressed in mathematical terms. Given that such terms became the norm in economic theories of marriage, I am hereby presenting a formalized version of the core ideas in Phelps (1972) in the hope that this formalization might help scholars appreciate this early economic analysis of marriage.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.