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The Economist February 6th 2021 pp65 |Science & technology| Daughters and divorce| “Teenage rampage”. “Daughters provoke parental strife, but only when they are teenagers”


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Summary of Article

A recent study performed in the Netherlands and America by Jan Kabatek (University of Melbourne) and David Ribar (Georgia State University) confirms previous findings that having a daughter as first-born leads to higher risk of divorce. The phenomenon is not related to a “son preference” and the risk has been identified to be greatest in the teen years between 13 and 18 with a peak at 15. Nearly 9% riskier at age 15 in the Netherlands and likely twice as high in America but by age 18 the risks are nearly identical.

What explanation is offered? The thought is that “parents quarrel more over the upbringing of teenage daughters than of teenage sons.” Surveys show “mothers of teenage daughters report significantly more disagreements with their partners over money, and become more open to divorce.” “Earlier research…one of the most common things parents fight over is how much they should control their teenagers’ personal choices, such as how they dress, whom they date and where they work.” A positive is the daughter-effect seems not to apply to fathers who “grew up with a sister.” In this case familiarity does not breed contempt.

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