The household and holds power and authority over the

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Macroeconomics: A Contemporary Introduction
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Chapter 19 / Exercise 7
Macroeconomics: A Contemporary Introduction
McEachern
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the household and holds power and authority over the women and children, as well as over other males. A matriarchal family is a family structure in which authority is held by the eldest female (usually the mother). In this case, the female authority figure acts as head of the household. Although there has been a great deal of discussion about matriarchal families, scholars have found no historical evidence to indicate that true matriarchies ever existed. The most prevalent pattern of power and authority in families is patriarchy. Across cultures, men are the primary (and often sole) decision makers regarding domestic, economic, and social concerns facing the family. The existence of patriarchy may give men a sense of power over their own lives, but it also can create an atmosphere in which 404
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Macroeconomics: A Contemporary Introduction
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Chapter 19 / Exercise 7
Macroeconomics: A Contemporary Introduction
McEachern
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Chapter 1 some men feel greater freedom to abuse women and children. Moreover, some economists believe that the patriarchal family structure (along with prevailing market conditions and public policy) limits people’s choices in employment in the United States. According to this view, the patriarchal family structure has remained largely unchanged in this country, even as familial responsibilities in the paid labor market have undergone dramatic transformation. Despite dramatic increases in the number of women in the paid work force, there has been a lack of movement toward gender equity, which would equalize women’s opportunities. This issue is not limited to the United States: the patriarchal family has placed a heavy burden on women around the globe. An egalitarian family is a family structure in which both partners share power and authority equally. Recently, a trend toward more egalitarian relationships has been evident in a number of countries as women have sought changes in their legal status and increased educational and employment opportunities. Some degree of economic independence makes it possible for women to delay marriage or to terminate a problematic marriage. Page: 353 LO: 2 6. Explain the differences in residential patterns and note why most people practice endogamy. Answer: Patrilocal residence refers to the custom of a married couple living in the same household (or community) as the husband’s family. Across cultures, patrilocal residency is most common. Socioeconomic factors can be an important factor in establishment of contemporary patrilocal residences. Few societies have residential patterns known as matrilocal residence—the custom of a married couple living in the same household (or community) as the wife’s parents. In industrialized nations such as the United States, most couples hope to live in a neolocal residence—the custom of a married couple living in their own residence apart from both the husband’s and the wife’s parents. For many couples, however, economic conditions, availability of housing, and other considerations may make neolocal residency impossible, at least initially. Even with the diversity of these patterns, most people’s behavior is shaped by cultural rules pertaining to endogamy and exogamy. Endogamy is the practice of marrying within one’s own group. In the United States, most people practice endogamy: they marry people who come from the same social class, racial/ethnic groups, religious affiliation, and other categories considered important within their own social group. Social scientists refer to this practice as homogamy—the pattern of individuals marrying those who have similar characteristics, such as race/ethnicity, religious background, age, education, and/or social ties. Homogamy is similar to endogamy. Various reasons have been given to explain why endogamy is so prevalent. One reason may be the proximity of other individuals in one’s own group contrasted with those who are geographically separated from it. Another reason may be that a person’s marriage choice is often influenced by the opinions of parents, friends, and other people with whom the person associates. Although endogamy is the strongest marital pattern in the United States, more people now marry outside their own group. Exogamy is the practice of marrying outside one’s own social group or category. Depending on the circumstances, exogamy may not be noticed at all, or it may result in a person being ridiculed or ostracized by other members of the “in” group. The three most important sources of positive or negative sanctions for intermarriage are the family, the church, and the state. Educational attainment is also a strong indicator of marital choices. Higher education emphasizes individual achievement, and college-educated people may be less likely than others to identify themselves with their social or cultural roots and thus more willing to marry outside their own social group or category if their potential partner shares a similar level of educational attainment. Page: 354 LO: 6

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