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Spending on Daughters in Economic Recessions

Kristina Durante, Associate Professor, Rutger's Business School

Monday, May 1, 2017
5:15-6:15 pm


About the seminar

Although parents often try not to favor one child, we examine whether specific environmental factors might bias parents to favor children of one sex over the other. This research draws on theory in evolutionary biology suggesting that investment in female versus male offspring depends on resource availability. Applying this to consumers, poor economic conditions led parents to favor resource allocations to daughters over sons. It is proposed that this happens because spending on children represents a reproductive investment, and that boys’ and girls’ relative reproductive value varies with economic conditions. Supporting this account, perceptions of which child will have more children statistically mediates the effect of economic conditions on preferences for girls. Consequently, the effect is strengthened as a child approaches reproductive age, and is moderated by individual differences related to our theoretical model. This research reveals how, why, and when environmental factors influence spending on girls versus boys. 


About the speaker

Kristina Durante is an associate professor of marketing and the marketing PhD program coordinator at Rutgers Business School. Kristina is an evolutionary social psychologist interested in the biology of decision-making. Kristina’s areas of expertise include women’s consumer choice and luxury spending, family consumer decisions, and hormones and behavior. Her work integrates knowledge from biology with diverse areas of psychology and marketing.


Kristina’s work has been published in the leading academic journals in marketing, psychology, and biology. Kristina speaks about her research around the country, including in a recent TEDx talk. Her studies have been featured in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Chicago Tribune, as well as hundreds of other media outlets worldwide. Kristina spent seven years as an entertainment marketing executive at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Loud Records, and Planet Hollywood before entering academia.


David Sloan Wilson, Director

Susan Ryan, Program Coordinator


Last Updated: 12/4/20