Matthias Doepke, Fabrizio Zilibotti, 11 October 2014

Since time immemorial, parents have struggled with the question of how best to raise their children. This column argues that the choice of parenting style is driven by incentives. Parents weigh the expected costs and benefits of implementing a certain parenting style. The popularity of the authoritarian style is declining because the economic returns to the independence of children have risen. The rising inequality implies higher returns to education. This calls for pushier parenting styles, such as the authoritative one. A decline in inequality is likely to prompt a more relaxed parenting. 

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