Free DP Download 7 February 2019: The Economics of Parenting

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Economics of Parenting
Matthias Doepke, Giuseppe Sorrenti and Fabrizio Zilibotti 
CEPR DP No. 13500 | 1 February 2019

Parenting decisions are among the most consequential choices people make throughout their lives – and they have become a booming field of economic research in recent years. A new CEPR study provides an overview of what the findings reveal about a range of topics, including parenting styles (authoritarian, permissive or somewhere in between), where families choose to live, how children develop skills and people’s fertility choices (whether, when and how many kids to have).

Starting with the work of pioneers such as Gary Becker, economists have used the toolset of their discipline to understand what parents do and how parents’ actions affect their children. The findings of this body of research already play a crucial role in policy-making: for example, the observation that many important skills are acquired during the first years of life has led to calls for more support for high-quality day-care and pre-school, which is now being implemented in many places.

As this example shows, the economics of parenting takes a central place in some major policy challenges. Rising inequality, increased segregation, low social mobility and more generally increased polarisation in society are trends confronting most industrialised countries.

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