Sons and daughters

Kevin Lewis

December 02, 2018

Helping to Break the Glass Ceiling? Fathers, First Daughters, and Presidential Vote Choice in 2016
Jill Greenlee et al.
Political Behavior, forthcoming


Throughout her 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton crafted messages intended to appeal to fathers of daughters and to highlight the implications of her historic nomination for American girls and women. Clinton reminded voters that her election could mean that “fathers will be able to say to their daughters, you, too, can grow up to be president” (Frizell, Time,, 2015). But did these appeals succeed in mobilizing fathers of daughters to support Clinton? Using original cross sectional and experimental survey data from the 2016 CCES, we ask two questions. First, were men who fathered daughters (a life event which we operationalize, for important methodological and theoretical reasons detailed herein, as men who fathered a daughter as their first child) more likely to support, and vote for, Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election than were those who fathered sons as their first child? Second, were Clinton’s direct appeals to fathers of daughters effective in increasing her electoral support? We find that fathers who have daughters as their first child are more likely to prefer and vote for Clinton, and are more likely to support a fictional female congressional candidate using a “Clintonesque” appeal that emphasizes expanding opportunities for “our daughters.” These results suggest that entry into fatherhood with a daughter (as opposed to with a son) is a formative experience for men that has consequences for their political choices in later life. Our conclusions inform the growing literature on the implications of fathering daughters on men’s political behavior.

Maternal Age and Child Development
Greg Duncan et al.
Demography, forthcoming


Although the consequences of teen births for both mothers and children have been studied for decades, few studies have taken a broader look at the potential payoffs — and drawbacks — of being born to older mothers. A broader examination is important given the growing gap in maternal ages at birth for children born to mothers with low and high socioeconomic status. Drawing data from the Children of the NLSY79, our examination of this topic distinguishes between the value for children of being born to a mother who delayed her first birth and the value of the additional years between her first birth and the birth of the child whose achievements and behaviors at ages 10–13 are under study. We find that each year the mother delays a first birth is associated with a 0.02 to 0.04 standard deviation increase in school achievement and a similar-sized reduction in behavior problems. Coefficients are generally as large for additional years between the first and given birth. Results are fairly robust to the inclusion of cousin and sibling fixed effects, which attempt to address some omitted variable concerns. Our mediational analyses show that the primary pathway by which delaying first births benefits children is by enabling mothers to complete more years of schooling.

Why did rich families increase their fertility? Inequality and marketization of child care
Michael Bar et al.
Journal of Economic Growth, December 2018, Pages 427–463


A negative relationship between income and fertility has persisted for so long that its existence is often taken for granted. One economic theory builds on this relationship and argues that rising inequality leads to greater differential fertility between rich and poor. We show that the relationship between income and fertility has flattened between 1980 and 2010 in the US, a time of increasing inequality, as high income families increased their fertility. These facts challenge the standard theory. We propose that marketization of parental time costs can explain the changing relationship between income and fertility. We show this result both theoretically and quantitatively, after disciplining the model on US data. We explore implications of changing differential fertility for aggregate human capital. Additionally, policies, such as the minimum wage, that affect the cost of marketization, have a negative effect on the fertility and labor supply of high income women. We end by discussing the insights of this theory to the economics of marital sorting.

Local Employment Conditions and Unintended Pregnancy
Jessica Houston Su
Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Method: This study analyzed a unique restricted data set that combined data from a nationally representative sample of women aged 20 to 44 years from the National Survey of Family Growth (2002, 2006–2010, and 2011–2013), with employment data from the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey (n = 13,702). It employed multinomial logistic regressions to estimate the odds that respondents had an unintended pregnancy as a function of local employment conditions in their Core Based Statistical Area.

Results: Higher unemployment rates were associated with lower odds of unintended pregnancy overall (including both mistimed and unwanted) relative to no pregnancy, adjusting for observable and unobservable characteristics. Women were less likely to have unwanted pregnancies in particular. This relationship was evident among women with both high and low levels of education, although those with the lowest education had the steepest declines.

The Effect of Absent Biological Father on Female Biological Maturity: Results From a Nationally Representative Sample of Adolescents
Michael TenEyck, Sarah El Sayed & J.C. Barnes
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, forthcoming


Belsky, Steinberg, and Draper’s sociobiological theory suggests that early family context influences an individual’s developmental trajectory in adolescence. A key hypothesis derived from the developmental model is that females growing up in a home without a father will have an earlier onset of puberty and may reach pubertal maturity sooner than their peers who grow up in homes with a father present. The current study uses a nationally representative sample of American youth (Add Health) to examine the association between having an absent biological father and female biological maturity, controlling for additional theoretically informed covariates. The current study contributes to the literature by utilizing a lifetime measure of absent biological father and a biological maturity scale (measured in adolescence) that taps into multiple aspects of pubertal development. Results from multivariate regression analysis revealed no significant association between absent biological father and female biological development. This finding suggests that, contrary to the sociobiological model, having an absent biological father in childhood is not predictive of advanced pubertal development among female adolescents.

An Examination of Within- and Between-Family Influences on the Intergenerational Transmission of Violence and Maltreatment
Bradon Valgardson & Joseph Schwartz
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, forthcoming


Using a sample of sibling pairs from the National Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), the relationship between child and adolescent maltreatment and intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration was examined within a genetically sensitive framework. After accounting for within-family similarities, maltreatment during childhood did not predict IPV. Maltreatment in adolescence, however, predicted increases in the likelihood of threatening an intimate partner as well as a combined measure of IPV. These results indicate that maltreatment represents only a single facet of the larger suite of family-level influences that contribute to the development of IPV perpetration.

Easing the Constraints of Motherhood: The Effects of All-Day Schools on Mothers' Labor Supply
María Padilla‐Romo & Francisco Cabrera‐Hernández
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming


Low rates of female labor force participation (LFP) have been linked to the absence of childcare policies. This article examines the degree to which extending the school day by 3.5 hours in elementary schools, a large implicit childcare subsidy, affects LFP, the number of weekly hours worked, and the monthly earnings of females with elementary‐school‐age children. To do so, we exploit within‐individual variation in access to full‐time schools and a rotating panel of households that contains 12 years of individual‐level data on labor outcomes and sociodemographic characteristics. Results from long‐difference models show that extending the school day increases mothers' labor supply, increasing LFP by 5.5 percentage points and the number of weekly hours worked by 1.8. Moreover, these increases are accompanied by a raise in monthly earnings.

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