In a recent NYT piece, “Why Fathers Leave Their Children,” I think that he [David Brooks] has outdone himself. He looks at a phenomenon that is roughly 3 percent of GDP and never considers that cash incentives might influence behavior.Yes, of course, financial incentives make a difference in this, as in everything else.
My comment on the piece:
Touching sentiments, but hard to see how they can be squared with statistics. Compared to other developed countries with no-fault divorce, the United States has roughly twice the percentage of children living without both parents. In winner-take-all jurisdictions within the U.S., such as New York, Massachusetts, California, roughly 75 percent of divorce/custody lawsuits are filed by women (and, in more than 90 percent of the cases, the court declares that the mother will be the primary or “winner” parent). “fathers abandon their own children”? That’s a touching story, but if you look at what actually happens a better summary is “fathers discarded by courts as secondary parents”.
A shorter summary would be “If you set up a family law system in which the only thing that you want from fathers is cash, probably cash is the main thing that you’re going to get from fathers.”
Every year, Father's Day brings us messages blaming fathers for all sorts of things, many of which are created by bad social policies.