Why American parent’s can’t afford to relax
American parents are often told to be more like Scandinavians and encourage free play and discovery. But what many don’t realize is that a lot of the way they raise theri children in dictated by economics.
Within the industrialized world, the U.S. has the higest income inequality. Education plays a big role: colege-educated workers earn about twice as mich on overage as their less-educated peers. Compare this with Sweden, where economic inequality is much lower, admissions are less competitive, and the gap is earnings between those who attend college and those who attend college and those who attend college and those who don’t is narrower.
If some of the choices of parents in the U.S. seem overly invasive, this merely reflects the high stakes in educational achievement.
Instead of critiquing parents, Americans should press for policy changes, including access to high-quality preschool for all children, more-equal school funding and investiments in vocational training. Only if they succeed will parents be able to embrace a more relaxed approach to raising yheir kids.
Matthias Doepke (Northwestern University Department of Economics)
and Fabrizio Zilibotti (Tuntex Professor of International and Development Economics)
Da Time del 18 marzo 2019