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The choices that we make as parents are among the most important that we make in our lifetimes: whether to have children, how many children to have, what form of education should we provide. In this video, MATTHIAS DOEPKE explains how the economic method can help us to understand the choices that parents make. Economic factors clearly constrain parental choice and, drawing on the concept of parenting style developed in psychology, the research demonstrates a striking degree of alignment between different parenting styles and the degree of economic inequality in a society. Doepke’s work on the economics of parenting is highly relevant not only to how we might improve social mobility but also to the design of education systems and labor markets.


Matthias Doepke is Professor of Economics at Northwestern University (USA). He has previously worked at the University of Munich and UCLA. Doepke’s main research interests include economic growth and development, family economics and the redistributional effects of inflation. Holding Research Fellowships from the Center for Economic Policy Research and Germany’s IZA (Institut zur Zukunft der Arbeit), Doepke is also a Consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Editor of the Review of Economic Dynamics, Doepke’s book (with Fabrizio Zilibotti), Love, Money, and Parenting: How Economics Explains the Way We Raise Our Kids, was published by Princeton University Press in 2019.

Original publication

Love, Money, and Parenting: How Economics Explains the Way We Raise Our Kids

Doepke Matthias and Zilibotti Fabrizio
Published in 2019