Cover: Valuing Children: Rethinking the Economics of the Family, from Harvard University PressCover: Valuing Children in PAPERBACK

Valuing Children

Rethinking the Economics of the Family

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Product Details


$28.50 • £22.95 • €25.50

ISBN 9780674047273

Publication Date: 03/15/2010


248 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

7 line illustrations, 14 tables

The Family and Public Policy


In this capstone work, Folbre, long a critic of the neoclassical economics approach to the family, adumbrates arguments regarding what is wrong with how economists and governments conceptualize and measure the workings of the family, using children as her fulcrum. Children reside at the intersection of family and the state, the marketplace, and the past and future. Benefit–cost accounting of children is woefully inadequate, and society lacks consensus regarding who actually bears costs; what impacts private and public expenditures have on child outcomes; what optimal expenditures might be; and what cost-benefit apportionment rubric stakeholders should employ. Folbre systematically addresses questions surrounding the value of children. Although some answers will not surprise, her unpacking of time, goods, and federal and state program costs and benefits both informs and provokes new thinking. The critical question is, who should pay for kids? The payees and benefit claimants are parents, earlier and subsequent familial generations, children themselves, and society via its government. What should hold these disparate groups together, Folbre implores, is the notion of moral obligation. Would that her vision becomes reality.—D.J. Conger, Choice

Folbre…shows why universal childcare should be the ultimate feminist issue. By focusing on the numbers in a new way, Folbre’s Valuing Children has the most potential for reframing the debate. She may have the cool eye of an economist, but she strips the need to care for all children of its cultural baggage.—Martha Nichols, Women’s Review of Books

An excellent analysis of economics and family policy. Folbre develops a new way of thinking about the economics of child rearing, that of treating children as an investment rather than a consumption good. Although Folbre characterizes her approach as institutional economics, she has really added to a wide variety of economic fields beyond that.—Sheila Kamerman, Columbia University School of Social Work

This book will become a standard reference work on many of the issues dealing with parenting and the production of valued goods and services. It is encyclopedic in its coverage and exceptionally well referenced.—Samuel Preston, University of Pennsylvania

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