It is often sug­gested that hav­ing chil­dren has a neg­a­tive net effect on the hap­pi­ness of the par­ents. Econ­o­mist Bryan Caplan dis­agrees, sug­gest­ing that stud­ies have missed the evi­dence sug­gest­ing that par­ents sac­ri­fice more than they need to and over­es­ti­mate the long-term effects of par­ent­ing on a wide range of child out­comes (includ­ing edu­ca­tion, moral­ity, obe­sity, and gen­eral demeanour).

Caplan’s next book is the intrigu­ingly titled Self­ish Rea­sons to Have More Kids and in this essay for The Wall Street Jour­nal he out­lines his core argu­ment for why we should have chil­dren:

While the pop­u­lar and the aca­d­e­mic cases against kids have a ker­nel of truth, both lack per­spec­tive. By his­tor­i­cal stan­dards, mod­ern par­ents get a remark­ably good deal. […]

It’s also true that mod­ern par­ents are less happy than their child­less coun­ter­parts. But hap­pi­ness researchers rarely empha­size how small the hap­pi­ness gap is.[…]

If […] you’re inter­ested in kids, but scared of the sac­ri­fices, research has two big lessons. First, par­ents’ sac­ri­fice is much smaller than it looks, and child­less and sin­gle is far infe­rior to mar­ried with chil­dren. Sec­ond, par­ents’ sac­ri­fice is much larger than it has to be. Twin and adop­tion research shows that you don’t have to go the extra mile to pre­pare your kids for the future. Instead of try­ing to mold your chil­dren into per­fect adults, you can safely kick back, relax and enjoy your jour­ney together—and seri­ously con­sider adding another passenger.