Investment in sons crowds out investment in daughters

by on November 14, 2017 at 2:13 pm in Data Source, Economics, History | Permalink

…sons crowd out human capital acquisition by daughters.  If all daughters of self-employed men experienced the “sisters-only” level of transmission, the overall gender gap in self-employment would be reduced by nearly 20 percent.

That is from Elizabeth Mishkin, on the job market from Harvard.

While we are on related topics:

I establish that women in U.S. counties with heavier casualties were more active in starting new businesses after the war [WWII] ended and this difference persists to this day. I also find that single women were more likely to start new businesses than war widows. Evidence in favor of the marriage market channel suggests that reducing opportunity cost is more effective in encouraging women to start new businesses than merely providing financial subsidies.

That is from Patrick Luo, also on the job market from Harvard.

1 y81 November 14, 2017 at 2:21 pm

So the way to help women is to deprive them of the opportunity to do what they want to do, i.e., get married, thereby forcing them into the inferior alternative of starting their own businesses? Unbelievable. Thank God academics have no real power (pace Keynes).

2 Anon7 November 14, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Lower the opportunity cost of marriage by killing off more men like the author of the study, who is a useless academic drone. And if the female entrepreneur outsources her child-rearing and housecleaning to lower status women, who will the nanny and house cleaner outsource their own child-rearing and housecleaning to?

3 So Much For Subtlety November 14, 2017 at 7:07 pm

I think that academics have lots of power. But this is not news – Simone de Beauvoir said that the choice to be a housewife was one women could not be allowed to make. Because too many of them would choose to be housewives.

So we have divorce laws created by these sort of people. The same sort of people who denigrate marriage in school and on TV.

Luckily we have a community that is well down this path – African Americans. African American women are more likely to start their own business than African American men. More likely to go to college. More likely to earn more. How is that working out for them?

4 A Truth Seeker November 14, 2017 at 8:07 pm

“How is that working out for them?”

Before that, everything worked pretty well for them. Thanks for your interest.

5 Anon November 14, 2017 at 9:40 pm

“Before that, everything worked [better] for them.”

Fixed that for you

6 rayward November 14, 2017 at 2:44 pm

“Casualty” means killed or injured. Maybe these women started businesses in order to support fathers, brothers, husbands wounded in the war. As between war widows and single women, widows likely had children to care for whereas single women did not; and with all the male “casualties”, somebody else had to start businesses after the war.

7 dearieme November 14, 2017 at 2:51 pm

I thought the Harvard solution was to declare yourself a Cherokee and use AA to advance your career?

8 So Much For Subtlety November 14, 2017 at 7:13 pm

Well those Indian Wars killed a lot of brave young Cherokee men. The women they left behind had no choice but to lie about their race to benefit from Affirmative Action. We should respect the survivors.

Bill Clinton may be in trouble because the Democratic Party has been shamed into re-discovering some of its principles. Lucky for Ted Kennedy that he is dead. How long will it take before the Democratic Party turns on Fauxahontas?

9 Floccina November 15, 2017 at 11:56 am

+1 It will happen after a Repubilca AA fraudster gets elected POTUS.

10 Jeff R November 14, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Given that there’s a higher variance in life outcomes for sons, couldn’t you make the case that unequal investments are a rational parental choice?

11 Ian Maitland November 14, 2017 at 8:24 pm

If women are relatively more likely than men to choose spouses on the basis of their human and financial capital (probably a cultural universal), I’d think that makes perfect evolutionary sense.

12 FYI November 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm

The fact that we keep talking about these “gender based” issues on a supposedly libertarian blog bugs me big time. This is all bs on top of bs.

13 Verbal November 14, 2017 at 3:47 pm

Gender-related issues aren’t a thing that can be addressed by libertarian ideas?

14 FYI November 14, 2017 at 4:03 pm

By definition, Libertarians should understand that these are not real issues. So the answer is no.

15 Verbal November 14, 2017 at 4:08 pm

I could see how you might argue that it’s a family’s right to prefer its sons over its daughters and the state has no reason to interfere in that decision. That sounds like a libertarian sort of answer to me. Basically “gender stuff is off-topic, we’re here to talk state coercion.”

I would disagree– I think it’s fascinating that, for example, the postwar gender imbalance had follow-on effects on the economy. I’m curious to see what this means for China over the next fifty years. It’s not exactly a libertarian focus, but it’s still interesting from a political economy perspective.

But I am honestly confused that you would claim that gender issues “are not real.” What do you mean by “not real?” That gender bias doesn’t exist? That gender bias is not a worthy subject of study?

16 FYI November 14, 2017 at 4:33 pm

It all depends on what you are trying to achieve here. If you believe that people are just idiots who favor sons for no good reason (or worse, they favor sons because they are bigots) then I can see why you want to “study” this. Study is just code word for “finding ways to change behavior”.

My take is that people should do whatever they think is right for their situation within the law. I see no benefit in changing behavior so families “invest” in sons and daughters in the exact same way. First, because I understand that money is only one dimension of life. How much time are families investing in daughters? How much attention and love is given to sons compared to daughters? You simply can’t measure this kind of stuff. Even if you could, I don’t think it is anyone’s role to try to change that kind of balance.

So yes, I do believe that gender bias exist but not in the way that you do. And no, I don’t think we should spend time and money “studying” these behaviors and much less trying to change them.

17 Art Deco November 14, 2017 at 5:21 pm

You’re expecting contemporary academics to defer to the judgment of non-academics on how said non-academics order their family life? Ha ha ha

18 mkt42 November 14, 2017 at 6:11 pm

A relative of Rick Mishkin?

19 mike November 14, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Miss Mishkin’s entry into the job market will hopefully be something like manicurist or personal trainer.

20 Liz November 14, 2017 at 6:06 pm

How does such a good blog attract such garbage comments?

21 Shazam November 14, 2017 at 9:39 pm

It may be that not everyone agrees with your assessment of this blog.

22 Sam Haysom November 14, 2017 at 5:06 pm

The stark reality of this in mid century Jewish families precipitated first wave feminism.

23 Highgamma November 14, 2017 at 5:09 pm

60% of all college degrees now go to women. In 1960, the ratio was flipped and the career choices were more limited.

Maybe old data doesn’t tell us much of interest.

24 FYI November 14, 2017 at 5:13 pm

And that flip in college degree worked out great for society. Yay, progress!

25 Art Deco November 14, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Over 40% of all baccalaureate degrees were awarded to women in 1928. It was professional schools – in divinity, medicine, law, pharmacy, &c – which had predominantly male student bodies and graduating classes. BTW, that figure for 1928 does not include the issue of nursing schools or normal schools, which were tabulated separately. (See the Statistical Abstract.

26 Sam the Sham November 14, 2017 at 5:48 pm

To be fair (and I am an MRA/MRA-lite), 60% of college degrees going to women is not oppression towards men. As near as I can tell, college these days makes you stupider and saddles you with a lifetime debt.

27 Moo cow November 14, 2017 at 7:19 pm

The 4 year degree wage premium has never been higher than it is now.

28 Sam the Sham November 14, 2017 at 7:22 pm

The standards it takes to graduate have never been lower than it is now, either. And how is the price of tuition tracking with inflation?

29 Moo cow November 14, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Tuition is actually tracking with the wage premium not inflation. Which is, I guess, what we would expect?

30 Anonymous November 14, 2017 at 9:27 pm

“Tuition is actually tracking with the wage premium not inflation. Which is, I guess, what we would expect?”

No it isn’t and only an idiot would expect it to.

31 Al November 15, 2017 at 1:14 am

It isn’t? It seems quite logical that it would.

32 Art Deco November 14, 2017 at 5:14 pm

The ratio of women to men among those who start new businesses is a matter of no concern.

33 Andrew November 14, 2017 at 5:46 pm

LOL at all the triggered dudes in this comment section.

34 A Truth Seeker November 14, 2017 at 5:57 pm

Women, unlike Super Mario, oppress Americans.

35 Sam the Sham November 14, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Nah bro. Men putting up with BS oppress themselves. Women putting up with BS oppress themselves. Most oppression in the US is self-inflicted – not to say we should ignore the non-self-inflicted.

36 So Much For Subtlety November 14, 2017 at 7:04 pm

So you decide that your contribution will be some content-free snark in a vain attempt to shame male commentators? Is that because you do not actually have anything useful or constructive to say?

37 Sounds like November 14, 2017 at 9:26 pm

He hit the mark

38 Smells like November 14, 2017 at 9:52 pm

If you disagree with something, you doth protest too much. If I don’t like you and you disagree with me, you are a triggered snowflake

39 Feels like November 14, 2017 at 10:15 pm

You are really sensitive

40 Andrew Stephan November 14, 2017 at 11:58 pm

Not worth contributing anything useful or constructive given the very poor quality of the previous comments. Just thought it was funny how predictable the backlash from the Breitbart crowd was for this post.

41 Art Deco November 15, 2017 at 10:37 am

Not worth contributing anything useful or constructive

You’ve made an ass of yourself once. Don’t add pretentious ass to it.

42 Bill November 14, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Re: ” I find that the transmission of self-employment from fathers to daughters is significantly reduced when there are sons in the family.”

Tell Ivanka.

43 Massimo November 14, 2017 at 6:08 pm

I noticed the last reference to the author of the second piece. It is actually worth of a discussion. This is a guy obviously intelligent and articulated. Assuming he doesn’t have huge interpersonal issues, he could join a for profit company and make a few millions dollars in 5-7 years. Heck, if he was willing to join us, I would virtually guarantee him it. So, why this guy looks focused on finding a job in an academic environment? How much he can make there, 200k per year? So what is the incentive? Benefits like working for a famous university? Even assuming that he’ll find a job at Stanford, rather than at Peoria community college, why? He really thinks he will win a Nobel? Not even Tyler or Boudreaux will make it, and I can’t figure smarter professors. Then, what is it? Fear of testing their own skills in the marketplace? If so, I can tell them that whatever are their fault, the vices of competition are much worse, and they will succeed. it would seem a huge market failure to me, if I believed in market failures, and I do not.

44 Anon7 November 14, 2017 at 7:05 pm

Autonomy to spent much time and effort on trendy, mostly frivolous topics like gender (though perhaps he is being cunning in his choice of research topic to land a good job before researching what really interests him).

45 y81 November 14, 2017 at 7:06 pm

It’s not a market failure, it’s psychological weakness. Some people can’t face leaving the womb and facing the real world, so they become professors.

46 A Truth Seeker November 14, 2017 at 8:10 pm

“Assuming he doesn’t have huge interpersonal issues, he could join a for profit company and make a few millions dollars in 5-7 years. Heck, if he was willing to join us, I would virtually guarantee him it. So, why this guy looks focused on finding a job in an academic environment? How much he can make there, 200k per year?”

Maybe not everyone worships the Almighty Dollar as Americans unfortunately are expected to do.

47 Paul November 14, 2017 at 7:16 pm

I say as a total guess but it seems that the kinds of areas that men tend to dominate have something in common. Consider this group: software development, plumbing, automotive services, roofing, etc. They all lend themselves toward freelancing and self employment. Start up capital is relatively minimal and tends not to involve more than what can be stocked in a truck.

Consider the fields that women tend to enter: education, biomedical, chemistry. The capital requirements for these are through the roof and tend toward minimizing self employment.

Intergenerationally, then, wouldn’t it make sense to hand off the keys of the family plumbing business to a son who took an interest in fixing people’s toilets rather than the daughter who wanted to go in to academics?

I’m unsurprised by the evidence that counties with greater war casualties would see more women entrepreneurialism– the industries that men would have tended to service would be in much higher demand and that would mean women engaging in fields where entrepreneurialism thrives. Solving for the equilibrium, once men were at parity with women, both genders could once again resume pursuing their own interests rather than the distorted demands of a temporary market condition.

48 Efim Polenov November 14, 2017 at 10:45 pm

Off topic, but I recently by chance read some Sylvia Plath lyrics (last month) and then a few of her letters (yesterday, Monday, at the Barnes and Noble). Her less famous verses are really good, the letters were fascinating. There often isn’t much new in newly published readable letters, so I thought I would mention this. Surprisingly, Cowen favorite Bloom (Harold, not Allen) does not think highly of Plath’s poems (not that it is Bloom’s job to be right all the time). Sylvia Plath went to some school, I don’t remember which, with the daughter of Nunnally Connolly – (who in turn wrote, with her dad, one of the best movies poor Peter Sellers ever acted in – The World of Henry Orient) – and Nunnally Connolly’s daughter (who recently died at 82 (!) (I would have guess no more than early 70s) had a very well written obituary of her life published in the NY Times – not sure if Cowen’s friend Margalit Fox wrote it, but whoever wrote it did a good job) mentioned Plath in her memoirs as the kind of student (they took a literature class together) who, well, actually seemed to understand what Dostoevsky was getting at (without being snippy or superior about it, bless her poor little unhappy heart). Every one I have mentioned in this post was probably agnostic at best, but I try to be fair. The pictures in the first volume of the Plath letters (the volume that just came out) are heartbreakingly enchanting, even agnostics are children of God.

49 Efim Polenov November 14, 2017 at 11:07 pm

And when I say heartbreakingly enchanting, I am talking about the level of heartbreaking one feels waking up from one of those dreams where someone who was kind to you and left your life , say, 10 years ago was just, in the moment before you woke up, in the midst of talking to you and helping you do something in that dream – perhaps, as often in my case (estoy pobrecito) trying to convince a landlord that the dream-land apartment with the extra rooms that you did not know existed and that you had moved out of years before but were still paying rent on, sort of, as the trees patiently and colorfully (I have never believed anyone dreams in black and white) lived through their summers and autumns and winters outside the still miraculously clean windows, unbeknownst to yourself – the furniture slightly different, the neighbors not quite the same but not suspicious at all at the long absence of the tenant, i.e., you – and you wake up, and there is no more apartment, no more landlord to convince, no more trees outside the dreamland apartment, but still, there is the voice and the presence of the person who left your life 10 years ago, the echoes of that person still trying to help with your dream hopes and aspirations -even if the hope is simply as humble as the hope to convince the alarmingly tenuous landlord in the dream that you all belonged where you were – and who would not want to live and belong in an apartment with rooms that existed for years and years, rooms that you did not know about – the question answers itself – and, on waking, you can’t think about it for more than a few moments (it being the kind but, in waking reality, never-again-to-exist help from the friend who left your life all those years ago) , at least you can’t think too hard about if for more than a few moments, because your heart might beat too fast if you did, and that would be wrong. I think everybody born before 1990 or so has dreams like that, it is not my fault if they don’t always remember them.

50 Efim Polenov November 14, 2017 at 11:21 pm

angustioso, mi amiga francés, angustioso, mi amiga sueco. Mejores tiempos por delante.

51 Efim Polenov November 15, 2017 at 12:02 am

Good luck to Elizabeth M. and Patrick L. in their job searches.

52 Efim Polenov November 15, 2017 at 10:20 pm

Los robles son Arboles y arbustos monoicos, los robles suecos y los robles frances son monoicos. La memoria des arces. Outside the window, where I used to walk the dogs.

53 Asher November 16, 2017 at 6:31 am

Next paper: “Investment in offspring crowds out investment in strangers”.

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