NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 30, 2006

Having children changes your life. It also changes your politics, say British economists Andrew Oswald of Warwick University and Nattavudh Powdthavee of the University of London.

The researchers found:

  • British parents with three daughters are 12 percent more likely to vote for a left-wing party than those with three sons.
  • In Germany, a father's chances of voting left increases by 2.5 percent with each daughter he has.
  • Men with daughters subconsciously start representing the female point of view in the way they vote, researchers speculate, because they do not relish the thought of their daughters one day receiving lower wages than their male colleagues.
  • In contrast, parents with boys may value lower taxes, as many believe such adjustments in the tax code generally favor men.
  • About half of the move into political attitudes happens within the first year of the child's birth.

Perhaps this explains British Prime Minister Tony Blair's rightward drift in recent years, since he has a five-year-old son. However, President George W. Bush, who has twin daughters, remains staunchly right wing. Oswald claims he would be even more right wing without his two daughters. While some commentators oppose the theory, Oswald claims this is one of the strongest patterns ever seen in his career.

Source: Seth Lewis, "Sons and Voters," Foreign Policy, March/April 2006.


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