First published in 1999, the primary focus of this book is what goes on inside the ‘black box’ of households, beginning with decision-making but branching out to develop a comprehensive view of the domestic domain. It brings together theoretical frameworks relevant to the study of family households from several root disciplines, each framework highlighting a different approach. Each approach is applied to important problems concerning the functioning of family households. The book focuses on households and their members as active agents who manage both material and immaterial resources. The private sector, to which family households belong, is not viewed as just responding to impulses from the formal economy and to public policies, but as a dynamic system in its own right. In the view of Paul Pennartz and Anke Niehof, households not only accommodate to social change but also mediate and generate social change. In the book key studies are presented which exemplify approaches and issues. The key studies cover a wide range of societies in Europe, North and Latin America, Asia and Africa, thus also exemplifying the comparative perspective, which is another important feature of the book. Pennartz and Niehof examine issues including the organisational approach and resource allocation, the power approach and the division of household production tasks and the opportunity structure approach and the housing market.