Risk-Taking Behaviour and Fatherhood
Becoming a father is a milestone in most men’s lives. Quantitative as well as qualitative studies across various academic disciplines show that becoming a father leads to positive behavioural responses and wellbeing outcomes, suggesting a shift towards a more risk-averse personality. The underlying assumption is that behavioural changes may arise due to a greater sense of responsibility, engagement, and the desire to have a physical presence after childbirth. However, studies also indicate that the degree of post-birth behavioural response might depend on a child’s gender. My research aims at understanding how fathers’ risk behaviour changes after a child’s birth. I use Stats NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), particularly the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) claims data, to identify non-work-related injuries like sports and household accidents. I use the identification strategy of Fadlon and Nielsen (2019) and a dynamic difference-in-differences model to estimate how the number of accidents changes compared to pre-birth levels. I provide evidence that men reduce their likelihood of making non-work-related injury claims for up to two years post-childbirth. Importantly, by classifying the empirical analysis by injury types, I find that this variation is largely driven by a change in behaviour with respect to sport-related injury claims for older fathers and younger non-European fathers. I do not find empirical evidence that the child’s gender further influences fathers’ tendency to experience injuries from non-work-related injuries.