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Parental Education and Parental Time With Children

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  • Jonathan Guryan
  • Erik Hurst
  • Melissa Schettini Kearney

Abstract

Parents invest both their material resources and their time into raising their children. Time investment in children is thought to be critical to the development of "quality" children who will become productive adults. This paper has three goals related to the examination of parental time allocated to the care of their children. First, using data from the recent American Time Use Surveys (ATUS), we highlight what we think are the most interesting, and perhaps surprising, cross sectional patterns in time spent with children by parents within the United States. Second, we interpret our results in a Beckerian framework of time allocation with a view toward establishing whether parental childcare appears to be more akin to leisure or home production. Third, we examine data from a sample of 14 countries to establish whether the patterns we observe in the United States hold across countries and within other countries. We show that both within countries and across countries there is a strong positive relationship between parental education, or earnings, and time spent with children. We then show that time spent with children does not follow patterns typical of leisure or home production, suggesting an important difference. We speculate that one reason for this positive education gradient relates to the investment aspect of time spent with children.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13993.

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Date of creation: May 2008
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Publication status: published as Jonathan Guryan & Erik Hurst & Melissa Kearney, 2008. "Parental Education and Parental Time with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 23-46, Summer.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13993

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  1. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring trends in leisure: the allocation of time over five decades," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 06-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Leibowitz, Arleen, 1974. "Home Investments in Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S111-S131, Part II, .
  3. Jonathan Guryan & Erik Hurst & Melissa Kearney, 2008. "Parental Education and Parental Time with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 23-46, Summer.
  4. Datcher-Loury, Linda, 1988. "Effects of Mother's Home Time on Children's Schooling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(3), pages 367-73, August.
  5. Burda, Michael C. & Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Weil, Philippe, 2006. "The Distribution of Total Work in the EU and US," IZA Discussion Papers 2270, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Jutta M. Joesch & C. Katharina Spiess, 2002. "European Mothers' Time with Children: Differences and Similarities across Nine Countries," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 305, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  7. Suzanne Bianchi, 2000. "Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity?," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 401-414, November.
  8. Francine D. Blau & Adam J. Grossberg, 1990. "Maternal Labor Supply and Children's Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 3536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Nancy Folbre & Jayoung Yoon & Kade Finnoff & Allison Sidle Fuligni, 2004. "By What Measure? Family Time Devoted to Children in the U.S," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics 2004-06, .
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  11. Jacob Klerman & Arleen Leibowitz, 1999. "Job continuity among new mothers," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 145-155, May.
  12. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
  13. Arleen Leibowitz, 1974. "Home Investments in Children," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 111-135 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Valerie Ramey & Garey Ramey, 2009. "The Rug Rat Race," 2009 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 431, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Anne H. Gauthier & Timothy M. Smeeding & Frank F. Furstenberg, 2004. "Are Parents Investing Less Time in Children? Trends in Selected Industrialized Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(4), pages 647-672.
  16. Nancy Folbre & Jayoung Yoon, 2007. "What is child care? Lessons from time-use surveys of major English-speaking countries," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 223-248, September.
  17. Arleen Leibowitz, 1974. "Home Investments in Children," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 432-456 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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