# Should we have a tag for Family Economics?

In this question, the OP points out that we have no tag for Family Economics, which can reasonably be claimed to be a sub-field of economics (see here). My only doubt about having such a tag is whether Household Economics, which is a largely overlapping sub-field (see here), would be more appropriate (or whether it would be useful to have both). Differences between them could arise from a) households not occupied by traditional families; b) families in which members live apart. Any views?

Update 7/2/18. Voting to date seems to indicate a majority preference for adding synonyms to the demographics tag, but not adding a family economics tag. I've added an answer to allow voting on the combination, ie adding the synonyms and the new tag.

• I always seen family economics as a field dominated by sociologists and not economists. Based on what i've been exposed to in the past I personally dont think the tag is necessary. I personally think this is due to the fact sociologists see economics simply as apart of conflict theory and not as a branch isolated from non-economic social phenomenon. – EconJohn Jan 30 '18 at 15:54
• Per Ubiquitous's answer, I think we should create the tag. There's very little downside and potentially quite a bit of upside to those that want to follow that tag. – jmbejara Jan 31 '18 at 4:02
• A demographics tag and household economics tag both do not seem like they'd cause much clutter and could be helpful. – Kitsune Cavalry Jan 31 '18 at 14:40
• @KitsuneCavalry if you are advocating separate tags, could you post that suggestion as an answer so that people can vote on it? – Ubiquitous Jan 31 '18 at 18:27

Here are some relevant parts of the JEL classification, which might offer some guidance

D1: Household Behavior and Family Economics
D10: General
D11: Consumer Economics: Theory
D12: Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D13: Household Production and Intrahousehold Allocation
D14: Household Saving • Personal Finance
D15: Intertemporal Household Choice • Life Cycle Models and Saving
D18: Consumer Protection
D19: Other

J1: Demographic Economics
J10: General
J11: Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
J12: Marriage • Marital Dissolution • Family Structure • Domestic Abuse
J13: Fertility • Family Planning • Child Care • Children • Youth
J14: Economics of the Elderly • Economics of the Handicapped • Non-Labor Market Discrimination
J15: Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants • Non-labor Discrimination
J16: Economics of Gender • Non-labor Discrimination
J17: Value of Life • Forgone Income
J18: Public Policy
J19: Other


According to the JEL classification, most of the topics meant by the poster of the linked question fall under the demographic economics area, for which we have a tag .

So an alternative to creating a new tag would be to create some synonyms that link marriage, fertility etc., to . We can edit the tag wiki to make clear the expanded scope of demographics. I am not advocating for this alternative, only putting it on the table.

• (+1) ...but your answer reminded me of an old proposal of mine that was met with universal rejection back then... unavoidably, I will now re-propose it in a little while! – Alecos Papadopoulos Feb 1 '18 at 18:32
• This seems to be the preferred option. Would someone like to implement (I don't think I have the necessary rep on the tag to do so myself)? – Adam Bailey Feb 12 '18 at 12:20
• @AdamBailey I have created synonyms from fertility, marriage, and family-economics to demograpics. I have also created a tag wiki for demographics explaining the scope of its usage. – Ubiquitous Feb 13 '18 at 13:52

I would not be opposed to making as well as a separate tags, considering they have different JEL classifications. It would not be too much clutter to have them both I think.

I was the person who raised this question and I would like to propose a different solution. Economics is sometime, correctly in my view, accused of 0f having a rather clueless androcentric viewpoint. At the time of my post, it seemed to me that the list of available topics would lend support to someone of that view, and this seemed to me to be less than ideal.

I endorse the idea of multiple quasi-synonyms. Whatever term is chosen, this is a radial category and a person seeking information on one of the peripheral extensions out from whatever center is chosen may not see what holds the categories together or anticipate the identity of conceptual hub. Certainly I would never have guessed that anyone would have categorized my question in demographics, as I was asking about the welfare consequences of smaller households, not about fertility decisions. But I don't really care for any of the alternatives above, including the one I originally suggested.

If it were just up to me, I would call the category I was requesting "Feminist Economics," though "anti-Feminist economics" would link all the same topics together. I suspect this group would prefer something a bit more ideologically neutral. I believe that if we as economists don't want to be clueless about women's interests and child wellbeing and how they might be different from men's and adults', if we don't want to sweep gender concerns under the rug, or assume that husband and wife are one and that one is the husband, then it makes sense to chose a central category that recognizes that such issues are real and makes it easier to find information about them.

Seriously, look at the list of topics under "Demographic Economics." How many of them would be of any interest to a demographer? Certainly 314, 315, 316 and 317 have nothing at all to do with demography, and even in 312 and 313 -- domestic abuse? Child care? Youth? What were they thinking? This grouping of topics under that heading makes sense only if you regard child bearing and rearing as an economically valuable service that women render to men.

My suggestion is to call the topic Gender & Family Economics. That is a much more sensible name for everything currently listed under demographic economics except 311 (and perhaps fertility under 313), and in my view would also naturally subsume the heading D13: Household Production and Intrahousehold Allocation under Household Behavior and Family Economics.

Note that D13 is the only topic listed under Household Behavior and Family Economics that does not fit more naturally under the heading Consumer Economics and Intertemporal Choice. I believe the "Family Economics" in the name of this subject arises as a historical remnant from the time when there was a substantial subfield, and even many departments, in Home Economics, teaching women to make good decisions as consumers. My undergraduate Alma Mater Cornell U. had such a department, though it, like most such departments, had been renamed as a department of Consumer Economics (and Housing) by the time I got there, and appears to have since been abolished.

I think the suggestions of @Ubiquitous (synonyms linking to demographics) and @Kitsune Cavalry (family economics as a tag) are both good. I'm posting this as an answer to allow voting on the combination.