Friday Thoughts on Fatherhood

Justin Wolfers, an economist, fellow studier of happiness, and father, reflects on fatherhood as an economist. They’re two roles that are surprisingly difficult to reconcile, he says, which is really a central tenet to everything I’m exploring here and in my thesis.

Key quote: “While the economic framework accurately describes how I choose an apple over an orange, it has had surprisingly little to say about what has been the most important choice in my life.”

There are several models that try to determine how many children people will have. We often talk about the “quantity-quality” tradeoff. I know that sounds crass, but the idea is simple, with limited resources, you can allocate more time and money to fewer children and help them achieve better outcomes, or you can have lots of kids. Again, crass, I know.

By way of anecdote, many friends (at least American friends), tend to say they want as many kids as they were in their family, except the only children. They all think their kids should have siblings to beat up, I mean, play with.


Author: ekfletch

I am an independent researcher on issues of gender, labor, violence, education, and children.

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