Religion & Liberty Online

The family economics of Jennifer Roback Morse

jrmorse-imageIf you’ve attended Acton University in the past few years you’ve probably had the good fortune to take the required foundational class “Economic Way of Thinking” from Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse.

Morse became a leading economist of the family a few decades ago after discovering an assumption made by Adam Smith: The economy depends on the intact family raising children. Morse brought this common sense observation into direct contact with economic analysis in her seminal work Love and Economics, first published in 2001. Several years later Morse founded the Ruth Institute to help religiously serious students understand why a free society requires socially conservative values.

In the latest edition of National Review, John J. Miller has a profile of Morse that focuses on her social utility of the family:

“My understanding of the human person and society had been deeply influenced by free-market economics and libertarian political theory, which have shaped my entire adult working life,” she wrote. “As I came to realize how much I had overlooked, I concluded that my profession was overlooking much as well.” It had forgotten about the vulnerability of children and the need for families: “Without loving families, no society can long govern itself.”

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Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).