Do Breadwinners Create Biased Households? The Effects of a Breadwinner’s Gender on Investments in Sons versus Daughters

Student Author(s)

Nathan Morales

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Sarah Estelle, Economics

Document Type


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This research examines the effect the gender of the household breadwinner has on his/her investment (time, money, etc.) towards his/her children. More specifically, my model allows for gender to influence parental investment in families of varying child gender proportions differently. This relationship is of major interest because results could indicate the direction of family structures, gender roles, the gender wage gap, and the future composition of the work force. This study aims to determine whether or not a slight increase in recent female breadwinners could lead to increasing rates of female breadwinners in the future. If mom breadwinners particularly influence girls, then that increases their likelihood of becoming breadwinners themselves. Data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics will be used to conduct the empirical analysis while a role model theory provides the basic theoretical model from which this study is conducted. In households with all sons, having a female breadwinner has a negative impact on both parents’ weekly hours of childcare. There is no evidence to suggest that fathers invest less in daughters, but there is some suggestion that both parents prefer to invest in daughters.

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