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Getting by with a little help from your family: toward a policy-relevant model of the household

Wheelock, Jane and Oughton, Elizabeth and Baines, Susan (2003) Getting by with a little help from your family: toward a policy-relevant model of the household. Feminist economics, 9 (1). pp. 19-45. ISSN 1466-4372

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Abstract

Recent decades have seen dramatic changes in the ways in which households in developed Western economies gain their livelihoods, with marked elements of a return to old ways of working. There has been a shift from reliance upon one family wage to the need for family employment as well as growing reliance on self-employment and small business. These changes mean that childcare for working parents, and the promotion of new small enterprise, are key areas of policy concern. Drawing on original English empirical research around both these themes, this article shows the ways in which UK households draw on redistribution between the generations as a v - v generally decommodified v - v contribution to livelihoods and "getting by." We argue that these results confound widely utilized models of how people behave, and take particular issue with how economists and policy-makers model the household and its boundaries as the institutional context for individual decisions.

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