Kids Keep Dad in The Office

TRENDS

"Wait until your father gets home!" This punishment-promising phrase--a nerve-racking threat to some kids--could imply a less speedy trial for sons than for daughters, new research suggests.

A recent University of Washington (UWV) study followed 1,200 American men for 25 years and found that fathers increased the number of hours they put in at the office when there was a birth in the family, especially if the baby was a boy. The data, analyzed by the Panel Study on Income Dynamics (PSID) and soon to be published in The Review of Ecohomier and Statistics, showed that fathers worked an average of 84 hours more a year after their first son's birth, but only about 31 hours more after a daughter's.

While the discrepancy is unclear, theorizes study author Elaina Rose, Ph.D., a UW economics professor, "It has to do with how fathers value their role in the family. Either they feel that it's more important to demonstrate the role of a man in society to a boy; or that they have a greater stake in the child if it's a boy." Rose hopes her research can help explain gender's role in economics and predict trends at work.

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