Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

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Template:Italics title Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids is a 2011 book by George Mason University economics professor Bryan Caplan[1][2] arguing that people often put too much effort into child-rearing, and as a result, they are scared of the idea of having kids. Caplan's book urged parents to relax with respect to child-rearing. He also argued that as the perceived costs (in terms of child-rearing expense and effort) of having kids falls, it makes sense to have more kids based on the basic theory of supply and demand.[3]


Popular press: book reviews

Jonathan Last, author of What to Expect When No One's Expecting and editor at The Weekly Standard, reviewed Caplan's book for the Wall Street Journal.[4] The book was also reviewed by The Guardian,[5] RealClearMarkets,[6] and the Washington Times.[7]

Popular press and media: interviews and debates

Caplan wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal around the date of the release of the book making his case succinctly.[8] Will Wilkinson and Laura Carroll wrote separate reviews in response, also in the Wall Street Journal.[9][10] Caplan responded to both on his own blog, framing their critiques in terms of different demand curves for the demand for kids.[11] Caplan, Wilkinson, and Carroll also participated in a live chat for the WSJ.[12]

Caplan debated "Tiger Mom" Amy Chua in The Guardian in June 2011 regarding the merits of different parenting styles. The debate pit the approach and arguments put forward by Caplan in his book against the approach and arguments put forward by Amy Chua in her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.[13][14]

Caplan was interviewed about his book by the New York Times Economix blog[15] as well as by the Freakonomics blog.[16][17] He has also guest blogged for Freakonomics.[18] Caplan's book and Freakonomics guest posts were also picked up by the New York Times parenting blog.[19]

Caplan appeared on Fox and Friends where he was interviewed by Gretchen Carlson about his advice on child-rearing and his book Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids.[20][21]

Caplan's book was also featured in a story on National Public Radio.[22]

Book events and interviews outside the mainstream media

Caplan was the lead speaker at a Cato Institute event dedicated to the book. Others speaking at the event included Charles Murray and Adam Schaeffer.[23]

Caplan appeared on EconTalk with host Russ Roberts in May 2011 to discuss his book.[24]

Blogs and small publications

The book received a mixed but overall favorable review from Steve Sailer on VDARE.[25] Caplan responded to Sailer's review, pointing out key ideological differences.[26]

Indiana University sociologist Fabio Rojas reviewed the book on his blog,[27] Caplan responded on his own blog.[28]

The book was also reviewed on the Good Men Project,[29],[30] and[31] Evolutionary economist Jason Collins reviewed the book on his blog.[32]

See also


  1. "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids (book website)". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  2. "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think [Kindle Edition"]. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  3. "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids (excerpt)". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  4. Last, Jonathan (2011-04-16). "Go Ahead, Have Another". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  5. McVeigh, Tracy (2011-05-15). "Parenting guru Bryan Caplan prescribes less fuss – and more fun". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  6. Tamny, John (2011-08-04). "Book Review: Bryan Caplan's Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids". RealClearMarkets. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  7. Russell, Nicole (2011-05-04). "Go and Multiply, Without Guilt". Washington Times. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  8. Caplan, Bryan (2011-04-11). "Twin Lessons: Have More Kids. Pay Less Attention to Them.". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  9. Wilkinson, Will (2011-04-12). "The Myth of the Irrational Mother". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  10. Carroll, Laura (2011-04-12). "With Kids, Easier Doesn’t Mean It’s Right". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  11. Caplan, Bryan (2011-04-11). "Carroll, Wilkinson, and Four Demand Curves". EconLog. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  12. "Live Chat: Should You Have More Kids?". Wall Street Journal. 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  13. Saner, Emine (2011-06-11). "Is strict parenting better for children?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  14. Caplan, Bryan (2011-06-11). "Caplan vs. Chua Debate in the Guardian". EconLog. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  15. Caplan, Bryan (2011-04-07). "The Case for Having More Kids". Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  16. Dubner, Stephen J. (2012-10-25). "We the Sheeple: A New Freakonomics Podcast". Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  17. Caplan, Bryan (2011-08-18). "The Worst Mistake I Ever Made: An Economists’ Parenting Quorum". Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  18. Caplan, Bryan (2011-04-13). "Kids and Costs: A Guest Post on Twins by Bryan Caplan". Freakonomics. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  19. Belkin, Lisa (2011-04-12). "An Economist’s Argument for More Children". New York Times (parenting blog). Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  20. "Bryan Caplan discusses Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids on Fox and Friends". Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  21. Caplan, Bryan (2011-04-21). "The Nurture of Gretchen Carlson: A Guest Post by Bryan Caplan". Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  22. "'Selfish Reasons' For Parents To Enjoy Having Kids". 2011-04-22. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  23. "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids". Cato Institute. 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  24. "Caplan on Parenting". EconTalk. 2011-05-09. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  25. Sailer, Steve (2011-04-21). ""Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids"—You Just Have To Stop Believing The Conventional Wisdom About Nurture". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  26. Caplan, Bryan (2011-04-27). "Of Kids and Kardashians". EconLog. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  27. Rojas, Fabio (2011-03-28). "book spotlight: selfish reasons to have more kids". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  28. Caplan, Bryan (2011-03-29). "Rojas on Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids". EconLog. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  29. Ladd, Andrew (2011-07-02). "Unlikely Reasons to Have More Kids". Good Men Project. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  30. Sierra (2011-04-07). "What Do You Want For Your Kids?". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  31. Black, Sierra (2011-04-07). ""Kids Are Cheaper Than You Think! Have Lots!" Says Economist". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  32. Collins, Jason (2011-05-09). "Caplan’s Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids". Evolving Economics. Retrieved 2013-09-29.