The Economics of Fatherhood

This paper outlines some ways in which fathers' involvement in their children's lives has been approached in some recent theoretical models from family economics. A key feature of these economic models has been to treat the individuals within a household, rather than the household itself, as separate economic actors, each with their own interests and resources. This approach opens up the potential of economic models of households and family behavior to much wider and more interesting classes of behavior than earlier models in which the household is treated as the fundamental unit of analysis. It is also argued that important implications flow from considering children as collective goods from the point of view of both parents.