The “resource theory of family power” hypothesizes that the relative decision power between a couple may be explained by the resource endowments of the husband and the wife. An alternative hypothesis is that the couple’s relative decision power is determined by social norms. This paper is the first economics attempt of analyzing the
decision power problem tradionally documented in the sociology literature. Our analysis is different from the literature in the following respects: 1) We provide an economic interpretation for the resource- power relationship addressed in sociology. 2) We hypothesize that the marriage decision of a couple is endogenously made, and is implicitly influenced by norms. 3) We control the endogeneity of the marriage decision so as to distinguish the impact of norms and resources on decision power. Empirical results support our hypothesis and facilitate us to provide a synthesized explanation for family decision power.