In this chapter, we turn our attention to the family economy and the relation of the family to economic systems. We know that economic resources and their use play a critical role in differentiating among families. Blue-ribbon panels repeatedly have cited deficient economic resources as the principal culprit in subjecting American families to excessive stress and children to developmental risk (see National Academy of Sciences, 1976). The role of economic impoverishment and low socioeconomic status in affecting the well being of infants and young children is well established. Less clear is the role these forces play in the lives of adolescents—where financial needs are greater (it costs more to support an adolescent), but alternative financial resources are often more numerous (e.g., the adolescent’s own earnings and the relative freedom of parents to seek income without “childcare” costs or responsibilities). All this reinforces our view that we need to proceed with an examination of the socioeconomic context of parent-adolescent relations.