Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why do daughters have a more positive impact on parents than sons?

Ads for educational institutions or for life insurance, if they feature a child, almost always show a girl. Is it that girls would lead you to take wiser decisions regarding the future? It turns out that having a daughter does indeed make you less risk taking, for example in terms of smoking, drinking, and drug-taking.

Nattavudh Powdthavee, Stephen Wu and Andrew Oswald use British and American data to come to this conclusion. It is well known that females are more risk averse, and risky behavior is at least partly inherited from the parents or taught by them. This study shows that it also goes the other way: the gender of the child influences risky behavior by the parents. Why would this happen? The authors conjecture that boys, especially at a very young age, are more stressful than girls. British data does indeed show that parents of boys are more stressed. Thus they resort to "self-medication" with alcohol, smoking and drugs.

1 comment:

Gamma Kappa said...

That's interesting.
I thought that they tend to put pictures of girls to show that they welcome girls also (with regards to university, rather than being solely male dominated) - I suppose to avoid any potential clashes with feminists, perhaps?