On Modelling the Social Interaction of Couples

Sarah Brown, Jolian McHardy and Karl Taylor

Abstract

In this paper we contribute to the existing microeconomic literature on social interaction, which has generally focused on social interaction from an individual’s perspective. Given that decisions regarding social interaction are often made within the context of a couple or family, we explore the potential interdependence between
the social interaction of husbands and wives from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. We develop a theoretical framework based on an extension of Becker (1974) to include factors which characterise aspects of a couple’s decision-making in relation to social interaction and show that these factors support a tendency towards a positive correlation between the husband’s and wife’s levels of social interaction. Indeed, our empirical findings suggest such a positive association between the social interaction of husbands and wives as measured by active club membership and the frequency of the social interaction activities. In addition, we find that this positive association is particularly pronounced across the same types of club membership or social activities.