Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #35
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes

Saturday, May 26, 2012
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
4C-2 (Convention Center)
Area: CBM; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Thomas J. Waltz, Ph.D.
Chair: Thomas J. Waltz (Center for Mental Healthcare and Outcomes Research)
JENNY ANDERSON (The New York Times), Paula Szuchman (The Wall Street Journal)
Jenny Anderson is a New York Times reporter who spent years covering Wall Street and won a Gerald Loeb Award for her coverage of Merrill Lynch. She currently writes about education and lives with her husband and two daughters in Manhattan.

Every marriage is its own little economy, a business of two with a finite number of resources that need to be allocated efficiently. In their book, Spousonomics, authors Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson apply bedrock economic principles to some of the most common conflicts in domestic life. Some examples include: Division of Labor (Or, Why You Should Do the Dishes): Exposing the fallacy of the 50/50 marriage split. Some people are better at, say, making school lunches, while others panic at the sight of a vacuum cleaner. Here’s a tip: Do what you’re “relatively” good at and “trade” the rest. Incentives (Or, Getting Your Spouse to Do What You Want): How getting your spouse to finally pay the bills on time is simply a matter of finding the right incentive. Trade-offs (Or, The Art of Getting Over It): The simple beauty of the cost-benefit analysis. Let’s break down that four-day trip to Cabo with your friends. Costs: A grumpy wife, $700 airfare, kids that miss you. Benefits: a savage tan, enough Don Julio to inflict permanent damage, uninterrupted sleep. Verdict? Supply and Demand (Or, How to Have More Sex): Talking your sex life to death, waiting until the kids are asleep and you’re both catatonic, not admitting that lingerie turns you on—all bad habits that raise costs and lower demand. The key to keeping your sex life hot is keeping it affordable.

Target Audience:

The lecture will target a general audience and will specifically focus on translating concepts from behavior economics to areas of concern for everyday living and clinical practice. Specifically, clinicians will become familiar with the relevance of behavior economic concepts to interpersonal and family relationships. This introduction will provide an empirically based conceptual framework for clinicians to expand their practice.

Learning Objectives:   At the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to:
  • Recognize the relevance of behavior economic concepts to interpersonal and family relationships.
Keyword(s): behavioral economics, clinical, family, marriage



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