Thursday 30 May 2019


Love, money, and parenting

Matthias Doepke, Northwestern University

Parents everywhere want their children to be happy and do well. Yet how parents seek to achieve this ambition varies enormously. For instance, American and Chinese parents are increasingly authoritative and authoritarian, whereas Scandinavian parents tend to be more permissive. Why?

Love, money, and parenting investigates how economic forces and growing inequality shape how parents raise their children.

Through personal anecdotes and original research, the authors show that in countries with increasing economic inequality, parents push harder to ensure their children have a path to security and success. Economics has transformed the hands-off parenting of the 1960s and ’70s into a frantic, overscheduled activity.

Growing inequality has also resulted in an increasing “parenting gap” between richer and poorer families, raising the disturbing prospect of diminished social mobility and fewer opportunities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. In nations with less economic inequality, such as Sweden, the stakes are less high, and social mobility is not under threat.

Matthias Doepke

Originally from Germany, Matthias is a Professor of Economics at Northwestern University. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago and was named an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in 2005.

"This ambitious, well-argued book carefully examines how families influence the social and economic fortunes of their children.”

James J. Heckman, Nobel Laureate in Economics