Researchers from Rutgers Business School in New Jersey discovered that most parents unwittingly favour the child of the same sex when it comes to spending money.
Study author Kristina Durante said the team found that the effect was very robust in four different experiments and across cultures.
The team recruited participants who had a child of each gender.
The participants were told that they would receive a treasury bond of Dollar 25 for one of their children, and they could choose who received it.
To test if the gender bias occurred in a different culture, the researchers conducted the experiment among parents from India, and the results were the same.
The researchers conducted another experiment at a zoo where the participants with a child of each gender were given one raffle ticket after filling out a survey.
They had to decide whether to enter the raffle for a girl's back-to-school backpack or a boy's backpack. Mothers chose the girl's backpack 75 percent of the time and fathers picked the boy's backpack 87 percent of the time.
If fathers are in control of the family finances, then sons may be more likely to benefit in the long-run. This unconscious gender bias may also have ramifications far beyond the family, Durante says.
The research appears in online Journal of Consumer Psychology. (ANI)