As Men Lose Economic Ground, Clues in the Family”

New York Times; March 20, 2013

The decline of two-par­ent house­holds may be a sig­nif­i­cant rea­son for the diver­gent for­tunes of male work­ers, whose earn­ings gen­er­al­ly declined in recent decades, and female work­ers, whose earn­ings gen­er­al­ly increased, a promi­nent labor econ­o­mist argues in a new sur­vey of exist­ing research.


David H. Autor, a pro­fes­sor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that the dif­fer­ence between men and women, at least in part, may have roots in child­hood. Only 63 per­cent of chil­dren lived in a house­hold with two par­ents in 2010, down from 82 per­cent in 1970. The sin­gle par­ents rais­ing the rest of those chil­dren are pre­dom­i­nant­ly female. And there is grow­ing evi­dence that sons raised by sin­gle moth­ers “appear to fare par­tic­u­lar­ly poor­ly,” Professor Autor wrote in an analy­sis for Third Way, a cen­ter-left pol­i­cy research organization.