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What Is The Effect Of Single Parent Households On Unhealthy Relationship Formation?

935 words - 4 pages

We are exploring the effect of single parent households on the formation of unhealthy relationships. We are looking at whether the relationships are unstable, in terms of physical violence, and how coming from a single parent household can contribute to this. Using Becker’s economic theory of the family, we can compare the formation and dissolution of the family to cost benefit analysis. Using cost-benefit analysis, it is always assumed that people act rationally. Thus, people usually choose to get married or divorced in order to increase their welfare. Becker makes a valid assumption that people “attempt to marry when they expect to be better off than if they remained single, and they divorce if that is expected to increase their welfare” (Becker 395). Therefore, if a married couple that does not get along, it would be best for the welfare of both counterparts and the child if the couple were to split. According to Becker’s economic analysis, the wealthier a couple is, the less likely they are to get a divorce. Thus, the cost of a poorer family to get a divorce is must less than the benefit. In short, a poor family is more likely to get a divorce in order to enjoy the benefits of being single. The figure below displays the cost-benefit analysis regarding the formation and dissolution of the family as explained by Becker.
Notice, the optimal point of production for a firm is where marginal cost is equal to marginal benefit. The same rules apply to the cost-benefit analysis of a married couple. The couple will only remain married if the marginal costs of being married are equal to or less than the marginal benefits. An example of a cost in marriage is limited personal space. An example of a benefit in marriage is shared wealth. If there is a surplus is marginal benefit, shared wealth, in comparison to marginal cost, limited personal space, of the marriage (shown in the darker shaded grey area), the couple will remain married. If there is a deficit (lighter shaded grey area) the couple will most likely divorce. Now, let’s observe a second graphical explanation for cost-benefit analysis regarding the formation and dissolution of the family.
Now, notice that instead of measuring the marginal costs and benefits associated with marriage and divorce, this diagram measures the total costs and benefits, thus giving us a better image of the optimal point of marriage and divorce. Notice, that the optimal point of marriage and divorce in this graph lies where the difference between total benefits and total costs is the largest. This difference is the same surplus we referred to in relation to the previous diagram. In relation to this diagram, a couple will remain married where the total benefits of marriage are at maximum. Both diagrams depict the same relationship; Couples...

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