Are men really that bad as fathers? The role of men's investments Academic Article uri icon


  • Human pair-bonding and paternal involvement have long been attributed to the need for biparental rearing of altricial offspring with extended periods of dependency. More recently, researchers have focused on the fertility benefits that pair-bonding offers men and have re-conceptualized paternal care as a stratagem designed to curry favor with the recipient children's mother. These models, however, fail to explain a number of puzzling empirical findings, namely the lack of a significant and robust effect of father-presence cross-culturally, despite what appears to be true paternal involvement. I argue that the record is better explained by conceptualizing reproduction within unions as a joint venture, in which men's contributions are not simply lumped onto women's invariant levels of parental investment, but one in which men's involvement allows wives to reduce their own allocations to parental investment and increase those to fertility (fertility model), thereby maximizing the production of the union, not simply child survivorship.

author list (cited authors)

  • Winking, J.

citation count

  • 22

publication date

  • March 2006