Parentonomics: An Economist Dad Looks at Parenting

Joshua Gans

Parentonomics: An Economist Dad Looks at Parenting

Like any new parent, Joshua Gans felt joy mixed with anxiety upon the birth of his first child. Who was this blanket-swaddled small person and what did she want? Unlike most parents, however, Gans is an economist, and he began to apply the tools of his trade to raising his children. He saw his new life as one big economic management problem - and if economics helped him think about parenting, parenting illuminated certain economic principles. "Parentonomics" is the fruit of his 'research'. Incentives, Gans shows us, are as risky in parenting as in business. An older sister who is recruited to help toilet train her younger brother for a share in the reward given for each successful visit to the bathroom, for example, could give the trainee drinks of water to make the rewards more frequent. Gans gives us the parentonomic view of delivery, sleep, food, travel, punishment, birthday party time management, and more. 4.0 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
Parentonomics: An Economist Dad Looks at Parenting

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Family & Lifestyle
Format Hardback
Pages 240
RRP £14.95
Date of Publication March 2009
ISBN 978-0262012782
Publisher MIT Press
 

Like any new parent, Joshua Gans felt joy mixed with anxiety upon the birth of his first child. Who was this blanket-swaddled small person and what did she want? Unlike most parents, however, Gans is an economist, and he began to apply the tools of his trade to raising his children. He saw his new life as one big economic management problem - and if economics helped him think about parenting, parenting illuminated certain economic principles. "Parentonomics" is the fruit of his 'research'. Incentives, Gans shows us, are as risky in parenting as in business. An older sister who is recruited to help toilet train her younger brother for a share in the reward given for each successful visit to the bathroom, for example, could give the trainee drinks of water to make the rewards more frequent. Gans gives us the parentonomic view of delivery, sleep, food, travel, punishment, birthday party time management, and more.

Reviews

The Financial Times

Tim Harford

The obvious question is whether this is supposed to be good advice or some kind of joke. There is no ambiguity in Parentonomics: Gans is not joking. Thankfully, he can be very funny. Although he is an academic – a professor at Melbourne Business School – his writing has a professional snap. While the advice is intended to be useful, readers will come to their own conclusions about that. It does at least tend to be thought-provoking.

20/04/2009

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