When Children Rule: Parenting in Modern Families

40 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2017

See all articles by Sebastian Galiani

Sebastian Galiani

University of Maryland - Department of Economics

Matthew Staiger

University of Maryland - College Park

Gustavo Torrens

Indiana University

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Date Written: January 2017

Abstract

During the 20th century there was a secular transformation within American families from a household dominated by the father to a more egalitarian one in which the wife and the children have been empowered. This transformation coincided with two major economic and demographic changes, namely the increase in economic opportunities for women and a decline in family size. To explain the connection between these trends and the transformation in family relationships we develop a novel model of parenting styles that highlights the importance of competition within the family. The key intuition is that the rise in relative earnings of wives increased competition between spouses for the love and affection of their children while the decline in family size reduced competition between children for resources from their parents. The combined effect has empowered children within the household and allowed them to capture an increasing share of the household surplus over the past hundred years.

Suggested Citation

Galiani, Sebastian and Staiger, Matthew and Torrens, Gustavo, When Children Rule: Parenting in Modern Families (January 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23087, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2903788

Sebastian Galiani (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

Matthew Staiger

University of Maryland - College Park ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

Gustavo Torrens

Indiana University ( email )

Wylie Hall, 100 S Woodland Ave
Bloomington, IN 47405-7104
United States
8128568131 (Phone)

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