Becker Friedman Institute

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The Economics of Parenting

Parenting decisions are among the most consequential choices people make throughout their lives. 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. In recent years, the literature on parenting within economics has increasingly leveraged findings and concepts from related disciplines that also deal with parent-child interactions. For example, economists have developed models to understand the choice between various parenting styles that were first explored in the developmental psychology literature, and have estimated detailed empirical models of children’s accumulation of cognitive and noncognitive skills in response to parental and other inputs. In this paper, we survey the economic literature on parenting and point out promising directions for future research.

Authors: 
Matthias Doepke, Northwestern University
Giuseppe Sorrenti, University of Zurich
Fabrizio Zilibotti, University of Zurich
Publication Date: 
February, 2019
HCEO Working Groups: 
Publication Status: 
Document Number: 
2019-003
File Description: 
First version, February 2019