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University of Exeter Business School

Family Economics and Policy

Module titleFamily Economics and Policy
Module codeBEE2035
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Sonia Oreffice (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Module description

The module examines the nature and behaviour of households in modern economies. The module will introduce a supply and demand model of the marriage/partnership market, the analysis of household production and division of labour in the family, gains from marriage/partnership, matching in the marriage/partnership market, divorce, intra-household bargaining, economics of fertility, and birth control. The module contains both theoretical and empirical components and will include the interpretation of estimates from econometric analysis.

Module aims - intentions of the module

  • Provide students with the microeconomic tools needed to analyse fundamental contemporary questions concerning the individuals’ behaviour inside and outside the family.
  • Help students to understand contemporary issues in economics and public policy and society overall, concerning the formation and dissolution of families, race inequalities, work and family decisions, and children.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. apply economics to fundamental contemporary questions concerning individuals’ behaviour inside and outside the family.
  • 2. apply standard economic principles to the analysis of marriage/partnership, divorce, fertility, division of labour, childcare.
  • 3. describe the main features of, and trends in, the UK household patterns and family policies.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. interpret relevant data and empirical findings
  • 5. assess appropriate policies for various social problems

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. demonstrate awareness of the role of numerical evidence in Economics
  • 7. demonstrate written communication skill

Syllabus plan

Indicative content includes:

  • Analysis of the economic aspects of the family.
  • Development and application of microeconomic tools to the study of households and their interaction in the economy.
  • The marriage market, basic and extended model (matching)
  • Intra-household bargaining; Divorce
  • Fertility; sex ratio and its imbalances
  • Household production and the division of labour
  • Family policies

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • enhance skills in analytical and critical thinking, and in written and verbal presentation
  • appreciate the complexities of decision making, weighing theory and practice

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22Lectures : 11 lectures of 2 hours each
Scheduled learning and teaching activities5Tutorials: 5 tutorials of 1 hour each
Scheduled learning and teaching activities1Revision
Guided independent study122Reading, research, reflection; preparation for lectures, tutorials and assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Tutorial questionsIn class1-7In class feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Test3040 minutes1-7Individual feedback
Final exam70 1 hour 30 minutes1-7Indicative solutions on ELE

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Test (30%)Test (30%) - 40 minutes1-7August/September Reassessment Period
Final examination (70%)Examination (1 hour 30 minutes) (70%) 1-7August/September Reassessment Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading


Basic reading:




Essential Reading


Hoffman, S.D., Averett, S. (2021), “Women and the Economy: Family, Work, and Pay” , fourth edition. Additional readings (excerpts of recent research articles, policy reports, and articles from The Economist) will be assigned. The exact references will be provided by the instructor.




Recommended Reading


Eswaran, M. (2014), “Why gender matters in economics”, Princeton University press




Background Reading


Becker, G. (1991) A Treatise on the Family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.


Becker, G. (1992), “The economic way of looking at life”, Nobel Lecture.


Blau, F.D., Ferber, M.A., Winkler, A.E. (2006) The economics of women, men, and work, Pearson Prentice Hall


Browning, M., Chiappori, PA, Weiss, Y. (2014) Economics of the Family, Cambridge University Press


The Economist providing contextual articles and current examples.


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages

Key words search

Family Economics

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BEE1036 and BEE1037 or BEE1029

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date