Why Do Men’s Preferences for Wives and Daughters Differ?

When asked to select from a list of ten items the two or three traits that they most valued—including different ranking of intelligence, attractiveness, sweetness, independence, and strength—men report different priorities for wives as for daughters. What does this tell us about men’s relationships to women and their attitudes regarding gender equality?

Can Money Create Inequality in Your Relationship?

Combining households does not always entail pooling income. Which couples are most likely to income-pool and what are the consequences of their money management decisions for within-household differences in economic well-being and for relationship satisfaction? Are differences in money management driven by pragmatic concerns or by beliefs about gender, family and fairness?

Where Do Babies Come From? From Peer Pressure, Apparently.

We commonly consider fertility outcomes to be idiosyncratic or accidental. But parenthood spreads through social networks, passing between siblings, friends, and co-workers. Why might the baby bug be so contagious and how do prospective parents catch it?

Why Are Female Models Paid More?

In nearly all occupations, women are paid less than men for equivalent work—on average, about 80% as much as men. But in fashion modeling women are paid a 25-75% premium over men’s wages, even for the exact same job. Why is it that in certain contexts, being female pays?

The Benefits of Being Blond

Is it better to be blond? Prior research suggests that blond women enjoy a wage premium and preferential treatment from men. But does this really translate into higher lifetime earnings or better odds of marriage? And might blond men be similarly-advantaged?

Who Is More Likely to Leave a Bad Relationship?

Women are the “dumpers” and men the “dumpees” in most divorces and breakups. This helps explain why women fare better than men after the split. But why is it that women dump their boyfriends and divorce their husbands more often than the reverse?

Closer to Fido or Father?

Fully 85% of dog owners and 78% of cat owners count their pets as family. What’s more, 94% of dog owners and 84% of cat owners feel close to their pets, yet only 87% feel close to their mother and 74% feel close to their father. Gender, family structure, and other traits influence these patterns. So what is the social and familial significance of pets?

Why Breakups Are Actually Tougher on Men

Women initiate more divorces than men and women may suffer less post-breakup. The negative physical and emotional health effects of divorce are larger for men, perhaps in part because men depend more on their spouse to encourage healthy behavior and provide emotional support. In addition, men may find it more difficult to seek support during a breakup.

How Do Most of Us Find Love Today?

How did you meet? It’s a common question with a rapidly-changing answer. As couples increasingly meet online, does the change in venue from “real” to “virtual” meetings have broader social significance? Who benefits most from searching for love online?

Sibling Sex and Gender Inequality

Interacting with other-sex siblings, especially older siblings, instills gender-atypical interests and attitudes, potentially promoting gender egalitarianism in adulthood. However, parents gender-stereotype their children more when they have at least one child of each sex, pushing gender-stereotypical behavior and recreating adult gender inequalities in leisure and pay.

Can Women Reduce the Career Cost of Motherhood?

Motherhood causes an immediate drop in earnings and occupational status and reduces growth in both over time. Strategies such as delaying first births and having fewer children cannot eliminate these career costs. Extant research suggests that institutional factors, such as employer discrimination and public policy context, are as important as mothers’ individual behavior.

Are High-Achieving Women Doomed to Be Single and Childless?

Scare mongers warn that women who delay marriage to pursue education and careers will end up barren old maids. But do men really find highly-educated, high-earning women romantically undesirable? Such women enjoy higher marital rates, lower divorce rates, and rising rates of childbearing. Delayed marriage and childbirth increase women's earnings and lower divorce risk.

Who Craves Relationships More, Men or Women?

Men are stereotyped as avoiding—even as fearing—romantic commitment. But is this stereotype accurate? Do women desire marriage, children, and love more than men? Should men avoid romantic entrapment—are they perhaps better off single? This article reviews the evidence on gender differences in desired commitment, family aspirations, and well-being in marriage.

Understanding Interracial Relationships

A popular strain of social science research conceptualizes interracial unions as social exchanges, with the implicit assumption that white is “better,” at least in the eyes of the romantic partners. But wouldn’t interracial couples tend to endorse racial equality? Generally, how might researchers' assumptions about race, sex, beauty, and gender bias theories and findings?

Does the Workplace Provide a Respite From Stress at Home?

Conventional wisdom dictates that work is stressful and that time at home is relaxing. But new research finds cortisol levels are higher at home than at work. This is consistent with sociological research indicating work as a respite from stressful home life. Still, although work may not be stressful in itself, long work hours may exacerbate the stress at home.

Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder?

The adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder posits a subjective interpretation of physical attractiveness. Yet there is strong consensus between observers as to which individuals are beautiful. To what extent are evaluations of beauty agreed-upon within and across cultures? And insofar as there is general agreement in rating beauty, what explains this consensus?

Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Women’s Employment

Recent research linking regional unemployment to improved infant health has caused some commentators to ask whether pregnant women should work less. However, such a recommendation would be both premature and illogical. Moreover, the suggestion that expecting mothers forego employment mirrors a broader debate over high and perhaps unfounded standards for ideal mothering.

Happy Homemakers?

Depictions of stay-at-home fathers in the popular media and in academia generally profile men who are well-educated, socioeconomically advantaged, and satisfied with their role. This study considers the personal characteristics and family context of male and female homemakers. I find prior research presents a misleading representation of the average stay-at-home father.

How Daughters Change Fathers

Research suggests that the birth of a daughter causes men to adopt more progressive gender ideology and to increase support of women's rights. This post summarizes the evidence that fathering a daughter changes men's attitudes and considers the causes of this effect.

Beauty, Status, and the Trophy Wife Myth

Beauty and socioeconomic status are positively related—the same people who enjoy good looks tend to achieve higher income, education, and social prestige. But why would beautiful people be more successful? And how might the individual-level association of good looks and socioeconomic status generate the illusion that women often trade beauty for men's status?

Occupational Gender-Atypicality and Housework Hours

Conventional wisdom suggests that working in gender-atypical occupations (those jobs predominated by the other sex) challenges gender identity and that individuals compensate by increasing gender-stereotypical behavior in another context, particularly housework. But occupational gender-atypicality is actually associated with a more egalitarian division of household labor.