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Maternal Employment and Overweight Children: Does Timing Matter?

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  • Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder

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Abstract

Recent literature has shown consistent evidence of a positive relationship between maternal employment and children’s excess body weight. These studies have largely focused on the effect of average weekly work hours over the child’s life on its overweight status. The aim of this paper is to explore the importance of the timing of employment. Timing of maternal absences has been shown to matter for child cognitive and behavioral outcomes. This paper explores whether this timing effect also exists with respect to children’s excess body weight. Data on a nationally representative British birth cohort are used to examine this, permitting a detailed exploration of the potential endogeneity of mother’s employment. The results show a significant positive correlation between full-time maternal employment during mid-childhood and the probability of being overweight at age 16. There is no evidence that part-time or full-time employment at earlier or later ages leads to a higher probability of being overweight at age 16. Subgroup analysis suggests this effect is driven by lower socio-economic groups. Various econometric techniques are used to explore whether employed mothers are systematically different from non-employed mothers, but there is no evidence that this unobserved heterogeneity biases the estimates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 07/180.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:07/180

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Keywords: Childhood obesity; Maternal Employment; Timing of Employment; Overweight;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nie, Peng & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2014. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity in China: Evidence from the China Health and Nutrition Survey," FZID Discussion Papers 87-2014, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
  2. Gwozdz, Wencke & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Reisch, Lucia A. & Ahrens, Wolfgang & De Henauw, Stefaan & Eiben, Gabriele & Fernández-Alvira, Juan M. & Hadjigeorgiou, Charalampos & Kovács, Eva & Lauria, Fab, 2013. "Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity: A European Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 7371, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Trannoy, Alain & Tubeuf, Sandy & Jusot, Florence, 2013. "Circumstances and Efforts: How important is their correlation for the measurement of inequality of opportunity in health?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5065, Paris Dauphine University.
  4. Trannoy, Alain & Tubeuf, Sandy & Jusot, Florence, 2010. "Effort or Circumstances : Which one matters in health inequality ?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/9524, Paris Dauphine University.
  5. Greve, Jane, 2011. "New results on the effect of maternal work hours on children's overweight status: Does the quality of child care matter?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 579-590, October.
  6. Daniel Miller, 2011. "Maternal Work and Child Overweight and Obesity: The Importance of Timing," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 204-218, June.
  7. John Cawley & Feng Liu, 2007. "Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity: A Search for Mechanisms in Time Use Data," NBER Working Papers 13600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Florence Jusot & Sandy Tubeuf & Alain Trannoy, 2010. "Effort or Circumstances: Does the Correlation Matter for Inequality of Opportunity in Health?," Working Papers DT33, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Jul 2010.
  9. Joan Costa-Fonta & Joan Gil, 2012. "Intergenerational and Socioeconomic Gradients of Child Obesity," Working Papers 2012-11, FEDEA.
  10. Jens Bonke & Jane Greve, 2012. "Children’s health-related life-styles: how parental child care affects them," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 557-572, December.

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