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Boy-Girl Differences in Parental Time Investments: Evidence from Three Countries

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  • Michael Baker
  • Kevin Milligan

Abstract

We study differences in the time parents spend with girls and boys at preschool ages in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. We refine previous evidence that fathers commit more time to boys, showing this greater commitment emerges with age and is not present for very young children. We next examine differences in specific parental teaching activities such as reading and the use of number and letters. We find the parents commit more of this time to girls, starting at ages as young as 9 months. We explore possible explanations of this greater commitment to girls including explicit parental preference and boy-girl differences in costs of these time inputs. Finally, we offer evidence that these differences in time inputs are potentially important: in each country the boy-girl difference in inputs can account for a non-trivial proportion of the boy-girl difference in preschool reading and math scores.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18893.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18893

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  1. Shelly Lundberg, 2005. "Sons, Daughters, and Parental Behaviour," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 340-356, Autumn.
  2. Shelly Lundberg & Elaina Rose, 1999. "The Effect of Sons and Daughters on Men's Labor Supply and Wages," Working Papers, University of Washington, Department of Economics 0033, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  3. Joseph Price, 2008. "Parent-Child Quality Time: Does Birth Order Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  4. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-77, June.
  5. Anna Aizer & Flávio Cunha, 2012. "The Production of Human Capital: Endowments, Investments and Fertility," NBER Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 18429, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
  7. Jacob, Brian A., 2002. "Where the boys aren't: non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 589-598, December.
  8. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis of the Gender Gap in Mathematics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 210-40, April.
  9. Jason Abrevaya, 2009. "Are There Missing Girls in the United States? Evidence from Birth Data," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-34, April.
  10. Silvia H. Barcellos & Leandro Carvalho & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2012. "Child Gender And Parental Investments In India: Are Boys And Girls Treated Differently?," NBER Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 17781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jonathan Guryan & Erik Hurst & Melissa Kearney, 2008. "Parental Education and Parental Time with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 23-46, Summer.
  12. Pollak, Robert A & Wachter, Michael L, 1975. "The Relevance of the Household Production Function and Its Implications for the Allocation of Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 255-77, April.
  13. Marianne Bertrand & Jessica Pan, 2013. "The Trouble with Boys: Social Influences and the Gender Gap in Disruptive Behavior," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 32-64, January.
  14. Borooah, Vani, 2004. "Gender Bias Among Children in India in their Diet and Immunisation Against Disease," MPRA Paper, University Library of Munich, Germany 19590, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2011. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1485-1538.
  16. Björklund, Anders & Ginther, Donna K. & Sundström, Marianne, 2010. "Does Marriage Matter for Children? Assessing the Impact of Legal Marriage in Sweden," Working Paper Series, Swedish Institute for Social Research 3/2010, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  17. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1976. "Child Endowments, and the Quantity and Quality of Children," NBER Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 0123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Brian A. Jacob, 2002. "Where the boys aren't: Non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," NBER Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 8964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Brodeur, Abel & Connolly, Marie, 2012. "Do Higher Childcare Subsidies Improve Parental Well-being? Evidence from Québec's Family Policies," IZA Discussion Papers, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) 6804, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Jan Saarela & Fjalar Finnäs, 2014. "Sex composition of children, parental separation, and parity progression: Is Finland a Nordic outlier?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 30(2), pages 49-70, January.
  3. Sandner, Malte, 2013. "Effects of Early Childhood Intervention on Child Development and Early Skill Formation. Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP), Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät dp-518, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  4. Venke Furre Haaland & Mari Rege & Kjetil Telle & Mark Votruba, 2014. "The intergenerational transfer of the employment gender gap," Discussion Papers, Research Department of Statistics Norway 767, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  5. Venke Furre Haaland & Mari Rege & Kjetil Telle & Mark Votruba, 2013. "The Intergenerational Transfer of the Gender Gap in Labor Force Participation," CESifo Working Paper Series, CESifo Group Munich 4489, CESifo Group Munich.

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