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Parents stricter with older kids to set example: game theory study
Date:4/17/2008

t sister got away with murder, says Hotz, who was the middle child of five siblings and is now the parent of two grown children. Thats the story of this study.

To test their reputational theory, they analyzed existing survey data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The National Longitudinal Study of Youth tracked more than 11,000 Americans for over 16 years (1979 to 1994). Specifically they focused on the rate of pregnancy and the teen dropping out of high school. To estimate parental sanction, they measured whether the teen was allowed to remain at home and level of financial support after reaching age 18.

In their analysis, the researchers found:

  • Having one additional younger sibling lowers the likelihood of an adolescent s dropping out of high school by 3 percentage points. This amounts to one eighth of the average dropout rate of the sample (24%).

  • The probability of parental financial support to a rebellious child is significantly lower if the family still has another child under age 18. For example, the probability of parents providing free room and board is 4.5 percentage points lower to an adult child who dropped out of school and 9.5 percentage points lower to an adult daughter who had a baby as a teen. These reductions are sizable given the sample average of living with parents after age 18 is about 20 percent.

Parents often worry about how forceful of a stand to take in response to their older childrens behavior, said Hopkins sociologist Lingxin Hao. Our study finds that some parents are successfully using this strategy.

The paper recommends that policy interventions to reduce dropping out of school, teenage childbearing and other risky behaviors should emphasize the role of parents as well as peer pressure.


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Contact: Neil Tickner
ntickner@umd.edu
301-405-4622
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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