Day-to-day individual choices matter less than we think, but national policies seem to matter a lot.

Does anything you do as a parent matter?

This is a question that surely most parents have asked themselves, as they push through some of the harder parts of raising children — sleepless nights, tantrums, vomiting illnesses, harassing children to finish their homework.

Given how much work parenting can be, most of us probably want to believe that, yes, it does matter.

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The evidence, however, is not always as clear.

We can stack up evidence from many fields — psychology, sociology, economics — suggesting