A son means father's pay also rises

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The Independent Online

Men's salaries rise by nearly 5 per cent every time they have a child, with the "fatherhood premium" being far greater for a son than for a daughter.

Men's salaries rise by nearly 5 per cent every time they have a child, with the "fatherhood premium" being far greater for a son than for a daughter.

Economists have found that men whose first child is a son earn 8 per cent more than men who father a daughter. Each subsequent son raises the father's earnings by 3 per cent more than each daughter.

Previous research has shown that men tend to work harder when they have children because they feel a need to ensure the family's financial security. However the study, to be presented at the World Conference of the European Association of Labour Economists, in Milan this week, is the first to show that the child's sexmakes a big difference.

"Our results indicate that men work more or harder after having sons relative to daughters," said Shelly Lundberg, professor of economics at the University of Washington and co-author of the study. "We can only guess that having a son increases the value of marriage and family for men," she said.

The authors believe that men likespending more time with their sons than with their daughters and so put greater effort into their home life. Previous work has shown that the birth of a son relative to a daughter increases the likelihood that the marriage will survive by 7 per cent.

The researchers used data on more than 1,200 men from 1968 to 1993. They looked at marital status, work hours and wages, number of children, and socio-economic status such as education. They found that men whose first child was a boy earn 7.9 per cent more than those whose first child was a girl and each subsequent boy added 3.1 per cent more to their salaries than each girl.

The findings also showed the birth of a first son generated on average an increase in a man's work time of 84 hours every year after the boy's birth, the equivalent of more than two additional weeks. Men added only 31 hours of work after having a daughter.

The economists found that women earn less in total and less per hour after having children. This was true whether the child was a boy or girl.

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