Does having daughters make parents more liberal?

So research done in England suggests:

Having daughters rather than sons, or vice versa, can change a father’s politics.

That is the conclusion of British researchers Andrew Oswald, of the University of Warwick and Cornell University, and Nattavudh Pawdthavee, of the University of York.

… Oswald told the Telegraph newspaper this past weekend that the research “provides evidence that daughters make people more left-wing, while having sons, by contrast, makes them more right-wing.”

It sounds good to me, but why would that happen?  Here’s what Oswald told the Telegraph:

Professor Oswald said that having daughters made men “gradually shift their political stance and become more sympathetic to the ‘female’ desire for a … larger amount for the public good”.

“They become more Left-wing. Similarly, a mother with sons becomes sympathetic to the ‘male’ case for lower taxes and a smaller supply of public goods,” he said.

Hmmmmmmm.  Makes it sound as thought we’ve got sex-related characterisitic dispositions that easily become political.   Should this just go along with the research showing that women have a preference for pink?

4 thoughts on “Does having daughters make parents more liberal?

  1. I wonder if having daughters personalizes for people the struggles women go through and obstacles they face. There was an article* in a Canadian newspaper recently that talked about law firms becoming more ‘female friendly’ as the older partners saw their daughters face the challenges of being a woman in law. This sounds like a similar phenomenon.

    * “Parenting vs Working” Kirk Makin. The Globe and Mail. 11 April 2009.

  2. Thanks, Laura. I decided my question assumed a too negative interpretation. It could be something about women’s lives that produces a caring that counts as liberal. It might make one realize that the traditional ways are just too costly.

    Maybe a bit similarly, some families become more happy about gays when they find a child is gay. I wonder if there’s some correlation between the increase in children coming out and the increase in acceptance of gay marriage. That would probably be hard to track, and of course it is still dangerous for too many children to talk about it.

  3. My guess is that the “liberal position” allows girl-children more options either in reality or, perhaps, just from the view point of the parents. Given* that all parents want their children to have the *best* options, it makes perfect sense to me that parents with daughters would become more liberal since, historically, women have been the more legally-physically-economically limited sex.

    Of course, I’m from the US and we just had eight years of Bush, who had two daughters. So, who hell knows!

    *This is the case or, in fact, you should probably not have children!

Comments are closed.