Parenting with Style: Altruism and Paternalism in Intergenerational Preference Transmission
We develop a theory of parent-child relations that rationalizes the choice between alternative parenting styles (as set out in Baumrind 1967). Parents maximize an objective function that combines Beckerian altruism and paternalism towards children. They can affect their children’s choices via two channels: either by influencing children’s preferences or by imposing direct restrictions on their choice sets. Different parenting styles (authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive) emerge as equilibrium outcomes and are affected both by parental preferences and by the socioeconomic environment. Parenting style, in turn, feeds back into the children’s welfare and economic success. The theory is consistent with the decline of authoritarian parenting observed in industrialized countries and with the greater prevalence of more permissive parenting in countries characterized by low inequality.
This article is based on the Walras-Bowley Lecture delivered by Zilibotti at the 2016 North American Summer Meeting of the Econometric Society. We owe a special thanks to Giuseppe Sorrenti for his great help. We also thank the editor, three referees, Daniela Del Boca, Giovanni Gallipoli, Jeremy Greenwood, George Mailath, Espen Moen, Nicola Pavoni, Chiara Pronzato, María Sáez Martí, Michèle Tertilt, Giorgio Topa, and participants at various seminar and conference presentations for many helpful comments on earlier versions. Titan Alon and Laura Zwyssig provided excellent research assistance. Financial support from the National Science Foundation (grant SES-1260961, Doepke) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (100018 165616, Zilibotti) is gratefully acknowledged. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2017. "Parenting With Style: Altruism and Paternalism in Intergenerational Preference Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 85, pages 1331-1371, September. citation courtesy of