Parents spending more on daughters, Carlson study says

The study, to be published in November, looks at how parents allocate resources to their children during economic recessions.

by Sadman Rahman

Daughters may be getting more attention from parents than sons because they have a greater chance of having kids, according to a Carlson School of Management study. The study, which will be published in November, found during economic recessions in the United States, parents are more likely to spend money on daughters than sons. Though the researchers believe the trend stems from a subconscious belief that daughters have a greater chance of having children in a recession than sons, some experts think gender doesnâÄôt play a role in how parents allocate resources to their children. Researchers spent the last five years conducting an online survey of more than 1,000 participants asking hypothetical questions about what their spending habits might be as a parent during an economic recession, marketing professor Vladas Griskevicius said. Participants included Americans across the country both with and without children, he said. Of the studies conducted over the past 40 years about the correlation between the economy and spending on children, about 20 have found parents spend more on daughters, Griskevicius said. Still, he said the study is controversial within the research community because numerous studies have contradicted his findings, which only applies to the U.S. âÄúItâÄôs a Western idea,âÄù Griskevicius said. âÄúThere are cultures where people have a preference for boys.âÄù But most parents and their children donâÄôt notice the trend because parents want to believe theyâÄôre fair to their children, no matter the gender, he said. âÄúIf [parents] track their expenses, theyâÄôll find that they spend more on their daughters than their sons,âÄù Griskevicius said. Despite GriskeviciusâÄô findings, some experts, like family social science associate professor Joyce Serido, donâÄôt think parents necessarily prefer to shell out more money and resources for daughters than sons. She said she thinks daughters tend to socialize with their parents more than sons and ask for support more often, which can make them more likely to receive help from parents than their male counterparts. Parents are also spending more on their children because of growing college expenses, she said, and more women go to college than men. âÄúThey will help the one that needs it the most, irrespective of gender,âÄù she said.