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Publisher's Summary

Parents everywhere want their children to be happy and do well. Yet how parents seek to achieve this ambition varies enormously. For instance, American and Chinese parents are increasingly authoritative and authoritarian, whereas Scandinavian parents tend to be more permissive. Why is this?

Through personal anecdotes and original research, Doepke and Zilibotti reveal that in countries with increasing economic inequality, such as the United States, parents push harder to ensure their children have a path to security and success. Economics has transformed the hands-off parenting of the 1960s and '70s into a frantic, overscheduled activity. Growing inequality has also resulted in an increasing “parenting gap” between richer and poorer families, raising the disturbing prospect of diminished social mobility and for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

In nations with less economic inequality, such as Sweden, the stakes are less high, and social mobility is not under threat. Doepke and Zilibotti discuss how investments in early childhood development and the design of education systems factor into the parenting equation, and how economics can help shape policies that will contribute to the ideal of equal opportunity for all.

©2019 Matthias Doepke and Fabrizio Zilibotti (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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  • Tracee
  • 21-07-2019

It’s well-researched. Academic, not for the masses

I listened to this book, and thought there’d be a little more practical information for parents. It’s entirely a book about economics, from economists, even though they spice up the beginning with personal narratives about their childhood. If you’re looking for a guide on what to do with your kids to make them “better”, a la Cribsheet, this isn’t that. If you’re into education policy, or poverty reduction, this book is great. Politicians, administrators, school superintendents should read it. Parents, there’s not much to do except be authoritative (helpful and supportive) with your children, and pick good atmospheres for them to grow up in, and don’t stress too much or too little over them (and there’s a wide range in that, they show, from country to country.) Good read, informative and very well-researched. It’s a “How to make the world a more equal place, and fix tax codes and education systems” book on public planning, not a parenting book. The two author approach was a strength, too.

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  • Selim Gonen
  • 19-08-2019

Satisfying but repetitive sometimes

The overall content is satisfying based on the summary provided, however there are unnecessary repetitions.

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  • badou
  • 11-03-2019

inspiring and humorous book; nice narration

The book is quite inspiring, and I also like the narration: calm, and often with humorous tones when telling interesting anecdotes in the book.
I also hope that there will be a version of the audible book in which the authors read the book to us, and that would be very interesting!

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