Sunday, February 6, 2011

It Takes a Village of Tiger Mothers

Marginal Revolution: Observations about Chinese (Chinese-American?) mothers
4. Bryan, like Judith Harris, argues that the influence of parents is typically mediated through peers and peer effects. But we should not confuse the partial and general equilibrium mechanisms here. For any single parent, the peers may well carry the chain of influence to their child and a lot of the parenting style applied to that individual kid will appear irrelevant. But for the culture as a whole, the peers can serve this function only because of the general influence of culture and parenting on all of the peers as a whole. In other words, peer quality is endogenous and a single family is free-riding upon the parenting efforts of others. That's a better model than just looking at the partial equilibrium coefficient on the parent effect and concluding that parenting doesn't matter. This is a mistake commonly made by Harris fans.
Tyler Cowen on the tiger mother school of parenting.

Excessive peer influence is among the top reasons my wife and I have decided to home school our younger children.

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