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Father Doesn’t Know Best? Parents’ Control of Money and Children’s Food Insecurity


Department of Sociology, 232 Williams Hall, Bowling Green, OH 43403 (


Although developing-country research has found that spending on children varies depending on which parent controls income, developed-country research tends to ignore intrahousehold allocation. This study uses Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study data (N= 1,073 couples) to analyze how mothers versus fathers controlling money affects U.S. children’s food insecurity. Results show children are far less likely to experience food insecurity when parents’ pooled income is controlled by their mother than when it is controlled by their father or even when it is jointly controlled. By examining this association between resource control and child well-being, this study suggests that child outcomes may be improved by altering control over household money, responsibility for feeding work, or both.