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This article develops a theoretical framework for analyzing the regulation of the household and its effects on the economy. Incorporating insights from family economics, comparative family law, legal realism, political economy and feminism, it describes the array of different legal regimes that can affect household composition and function. The article then analyzes the case of Greece using this framework. It argues that the role of households organized as families was a central element in the Greek debt crisis, overlooked by scholars and policymakers alike. It identifies the host of legal regimes that helped consolidate families as the main providers of both welfare and employment and analyzes the consequences of this organization for Greece’s economy. Finally, the article argues that a household based analysis offers useful comparative insights in the context of the euro crisis and its management. More specifically, it elucidates how the structural reforms now required through the European Semester necessitate a dramatic transformation of basic schemes of welfare provisioning. It argues that without additional support these transformations are likely to fail or have dramatic unintended consequences.

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Am. J. Comp. L. (forthcoming 2014)