Family decisions and outcomes are affected by and also change with cultural institutions

Read “The family as a social institution” by Natalie Bau and Raquel Fernandez here.

While household decision-making behaviour is known to be context dependent, studying the role of culture in how families form and operate is complicated by its dynamic and transitory nature. In this VoxDevTalk, Natalie Bau and Raquel Fernandez discuss their recent work examining the history and diversity of family institutions, how families affect belief systems and decision-making, and how culture affects these outcomes for different groups of people. 

Drawing on a wide array of evidence from fields of anthropology, sociology, and economics, the authors show how even within countries, culture can affect how different groups respond to policies in sectors like health, education, and employment. Policymakers must account for these relationships between families and cultures to ensure that policies targeting and supporting families are equitable and effective.

Family Social institutions Cultures Household decision-making Household behaviour