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Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen, Volume 2Society, Institutions, and Development$
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Kaushik Basu and Ravi Kanbur

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239979

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239979.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 April 2021

From “Harmony” to “Cooperative Conflicts”

From “Harmony” to “Cooperative Conflicts”

Amartya Sen's Contribution to Household Theory

(p.202) Chapter 11 From “Harmony” to “Cooperative Conflicts”
Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen, Volume 2

Lourdes Benería

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a historical perspective of the different theoretical models that have attempted to capture how households function, particularly from the perspective of gender relations. First, it examines the notion of the ‘harmonious’ unitary household analysed by neoclassical models, and it provides an overview of the different critiques addressing the shortcomings of these models. Second, it contrasts neoclassical analysis with some of the ‘left-feminist’ approaches that were developed in the 1970s and 1980s, including those that viewed the family as a locus of conflict rather than harmony. Finally, the chapter emphasizes the importance of bargaining models to capture household dynamics and it focuses on Sen's notion of ‘cooperative conflicts’ as a major contribution to our understanding of bargaining and gender relations further developed by feminist economists.

Keywords:   household, gender, harmony, conflict, inequality, bargaining, cooperation, cooperative conflicts

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