Here’s an article by W. Bradford Wilcox from the American Enterprise Institute.
Family scholars from sociologist Sara McLanahan to psychologist Ross Parke have long observed that fathers typically play an important role in advancing the welfare of their children. Focusing on the impact of family structure, McLanahan has found that, compared to children from single-parent homes, children who live with both their mother and father have significantly lower rates of nonmarital childbearing and incarceration and higher rates of high school and college graduation. Examining the extent and style of paternal involvement, Parke notes, for instance, that engaged fathers play an important role in “helping sons and daughters achieve independent and distinct identities” and that this independence often translates into educational and occupational success.
Likewise, a US Department of Education study found that among children living with both biological parents, those with highly involved fathers were 42 percent more likely to earn As and 33 percent less likely to be held back a year in school than children whose dads had low levels of involvement. But little research has examined the association between paternal involvement per se and college graduation.
I investigated that association by using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a study of a nationally representative sample of adolescents who were in grades 7–12 in the 1994–95 school year. The Add Health data indicate that young adults who had involved fathers when they were in high school are significantly more likely to graduate from college.
[...]Compared to teens who reported that their fathers were not involved, teens with involved fathers were 98 percent more likely to graduate from college, and teens with very involved fathers were 105 percent more likely to graduate from college (see figure 1, which adjusts for socioeconomic background). Clearly, young women and men with more engaged fathers are more likely to acquire a college diploma than their peers without such a father.
I would think that fathers are helpful for keeping children out of trouble, warning them away from threats, helping them to do their homework and get jobs, and showing them the value of work and frugality. I think that in general, fathers have a concern that their children will not be able to provide for themselves and will starve. They tend to try to push their kids into harder subject areas that pay more, instead of letting the kids decide what makes them happy. And it’s good for kids that fathers do those roles – it makes a difference.