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Mechanisms for the Association Between Maternal Employment and Child Cognitive Development

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  • John Cawley
  • Feng Liu

Abstract

Recent research has found that maternal employment is associated with worse child performance on tests of cognitive ability. This paper explores mechanisms for that correlation. We estimate models of instrumental variables using a unique dataset, the American Time Use Survey, that measure the effect of maternal employment on the mother's allocation of time to activities related to child cognitive development. We find that employed women spend significantly less time reading to their children, helping with homework, and in educational activities in general. We find no evidence that these decreases in time are offset by increases in time by husbands and partners. These findings offer plausible mechanisms for the association of maternal employment with child cognitive development.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13609.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13609

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  1. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-44, September.
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  3. Susanne James-Burdumy, 2005. "The Effect of Maternal Labor Force Participation on Child Development," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 177-211, January.
  4. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Maternal Employment and Adolescent Development," IZA Discussion Papers 1673, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Angela Fertig & Gerhard Glomm & Rusty Tchernis, 2006. "The Connection Between Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity: Inspecting the Mechanisms," Caepr Working Papers 2006-020, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  8. James J. Heckman, 2000. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," JCPR Working Papers 154, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  9. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  10. Katharine G. Abraham & Aaron Maitland & Suzanne M. Bianchi, 2006. "Non-response in the American Time Use Survey: Who Is Missing from the Data and How Much Does It Matter?," NBER Technical Working Papers 0328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Han, Wen-Jui, 2006. "Maternal work schedules and child outcomes: Evidence from the National Survey of American Families," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 1039-1059, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Casarico, Alessandra & Sommacal, Alessandro, 2008. "Labour Income Taxation, Human Capital and Growth: The Role of Child Care," CEPR Discussion Papers 7039, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Rita Ginja, 2010. "Income Shocks and Investments in Human Capital," 2010 Meeting Papers 1165, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Quy-Toan Do & Tung Duc Phung, 2010. "The Importance of Being Wanted," Working Papers id:2515, eSocialSciences.
  4. Benjamín Villena-Rodán & Cecilia Ríos-Aguilar, 2011. "Causal Effects of Maternal Time-Investment on Children's Cognitive Outcomes," Documentos de Trabajo 285, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  5. Fouarge D. & Künn-Nelen A.C. & Grip A. de, 2013. "The relation between maternal work hours and cognitive outcomes of young school-aged children," ROA Research Memorandum 007, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  6. Ana Rute Cardoso & Elsa Fontainha & Chiara Monfardini, 2008. "Children and parents time use: Empirical evidence on investment in human capital in France, Italy and Germany," CHILD Working Papers wp17_08, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  7. Jay Stewart, 2014. "Early to bed and earlier to rise: school, maternal employment, and children’s sleep," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 29-50, March.

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  1. Papers and articles using the American Time Use Survey (ATUS)

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