Understanding the Intra-Household Decision Making of Female Domestic Workers Across Cities of India: Ethnographic reflections from Bhopal, Katni, Jhansi, Lucknow, and Pune

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Richa Sekhani, Deepanshu Mohan, Jignesh Mistry, Vanshika Mittal, Advaita Singh, Rekha Pachauri, Sakshi Chindaliya, Tanushree Mohan


In economics, most of the mainstream neo-classical literature studying the economics of households[i] has assumed a common utility and demand function in accounting for the material well-being of a household and its members ( Mohan 2019). The assumption of common utility reflected in the “common” preference and interests was first studied by Becker (1981) in his “ Unitary” model.  The model also argued that men and women have comparative advantage in market and household work respectively. Their relative productivities lead to optimal household utility. However, a number of economists over the past few decades have critiqued Becker’s “unitary” model  by studying the cooperative model ( via income pooling) between men and women in the household to maximsise the collective well-being.


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