The Birth of Parentonomics: A Guest Post

My friend Joshua Gans is one of Australia’s best young economists, and he is also a parent. And as passionate as Joshua is about economics, he’s just as passionate about parenting. While it has always been fun to follow Joshua’s economic musings on his blog, Core Economics, I have been having more fun following his parenting blog, Game Theorist, devoted to “musings on economics and child rearing.”

I’m never quite sure whether this blog is about the strange things one discovers when looking at the everyday experience of parenting through the eyes of an economist, or about the strange things one discovers about economists when looking at them through the eyes of a kid. Either way, it is always interesting.

Here are a few fun samplers to get you started:

I’m sure that many parents will recognize many of the parenting dilemmas that Joshua has come across. Each of these vignettes is amusing, often touching, and always told in a very tender way. Yet the economist in Joshua can re-frame these stories to find the underlying economics, and perhaps some useful parenting insights as well.

The good news is that he is going to be putting some of his ideas to work in a book — Parentonomics — that should be coming out in a few months. A sample chapter (on traveling) is already available here. At this point only the Australian rights have been sold, although I think there is a great opportunity here for any publisher or agent who wants to bring this book to a broader audience.


I suggest that the first commentator actually look at the material first before passing judgement. This sort of application of economic theory to 'ordinary' situations might actually be a valuable teaching aid. The (brief) look that I've had says that they might just serve that purpose.


wow, another way for a parent to package icky-cutesy kiddie stories to get more people to read them. Not value added in my opinion.


Thling if you actually do read any blogs by parents you may note that they are mostly concerned with the disgusting aspects of parenting, so please check out a few before disparaging them all as cutesy, OK tiger?


Actually parenting blogs are the public face of the contemporary penchant for turning every aspect of parenting into a big research project. Maybe there is an economic study in there somewhere--just how much time, money and productivity is involved in this social phenomenon.

If we could harness the mental energy and hot air expended just on the orchestration of infant and toddler bowel movements and the discussion thereof, we could free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil.


I can't access these links at work, but this seems like an interesting topic. I'd be partciularly interested in learning about Parento Efficiency.

Moses malone

From the child chauffeur's dilemma:

"Well, you see Child No.1, while physically a girl, is, in fact, a boy. So she gets invited to both parties."


the young and the restless

It's a pleasant surprise to find a sanctury from all that modern inane garbage they call music.