Family Economics and Public Policy, 1800s–Present

How Laws, Incentives, and Social Programs Drive Family Decision-Making and the US Economy

  • Megan McDonald Way

Part of the Palgrave Studies in American Economic History book series (AEH)

About this book


This book explores family economic decision-making in the United States from the nineteenth century through present day, specifically looking at the relationship between family resource allocation decisions and government policy. It examines how families have responded to incentives and constraints established by diverse federal and state policies and laws, including the regulation of marriage and of female labor force participation, child labor and education policies—including segregation—social  welfare programs, and more. The goal of this book is to present family economic decisions throughout US history in a way that contextualizes where the US economy and the families that drive it have been. It goes on to discuss the role public policies have played in that journey, where we need to go from here, and how public policies can help us get there. At a time when American families are more complex than ever before, this volume will educate readers on the often unrecognized role that government policies have on our family lives, and the uncelebrated role that family economic decision-making has on the future of the US economy. 


family economic policy US economic policy public policy knowledge economy industrial economy decision-making child labor opportunity cost family economics gender economics human capital inequality family structure

Authors and affiliations

  • Megan McDonald Way
    • 1
  1. 1.Babson CollegeBabson ParkUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-43961-1
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-43963-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site