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Parental child care during and outside of typical work hours

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  • Alice Schoonbroodt

    (The University of Iowa)

Abstract

It has been argued that child care should be treated separately from leisure or housework when analyzing time use data. This is because child care has a positive income gradient, whereas leisure and housework do not. Using U.S. data from PSID-CDS, this paper computes parental child care during and outside of typical work hours (TWH) by income quintile for two-parent families. The TWH distinction is important because the opportunity cost of spending time with children is first and foremost in terms of forgone earnings during TWH; outside of TWH, leisure or housework mainly constitute this opportunity cost. Indeed, I find that child care decreases with income during TWH and, hence, behaves similarly to leisure and other household chores. While maternal child care also slightly decreases with income outside of TWH, paternal care increases with income outside of TWH. Also, the discrepancy between paternal and maternal child care is smaller outside of TWH than it is during TWH. This is particularly pronounced in high income families. Theoretical implications are derived in a static framework of time allocation and child quality production encompassing the recent literature on the topic. Variation in child care during TWH can be rationalized by assuming a high elasticity of substitution between leisure, consumption and child quality. This is the standard explanation for the patterns observed in leisure and housework. Within this widely used framework, however, the facts outside of TWH point to systematic differences by income in preferences or productivity. Further exploration of child care patterns during and outside of TWH is needed to inform us about the dimensions in which this widely used framework should be extended.

Suggested Citation

  • Alice Schoonbroodt, 2018. "Parental child care during and outside of typical work hours," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 453-476, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:16:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11150-016-9336-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-016-9336-y
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    2. Gema Zamarro & María J. Prados, 2021. "Gender differences in couples’ division of childcare, work and mental health during COVID-19," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 11-40, March.
    3. Kalenkoski, Charlene Marie & Pabilonia, Sabrina Wulff, 2021. "Impacts of COVID-19 on the Self-employed," GLO Discussion Paper Series 843, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Hippolyte d’ALBIS & Paula E. GOBBI & Angela GREULICH, 2017. "Having a Second Child and Access to Childcare : Evidence from European Countries," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(2), pages 177-210, June.
    5. Matthias Doepke & Fabian Kindermann, 2019. "Bargaining over Babies: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(9), pages 3264-3306, September.
    6. Brant Abbott, . "Incomplete Markets and Parental Investments in Children," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Kalenkoski, Charlene M. & Pabilonia, Sabrina Wulff, 2020. "Initial Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Employment and Hours of Self-Employed Coupled and Single Workers by Gender and Parental Status," IZA Discussion Papers 13443, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Brant Abbott, . "Incomplete Markets and Parental Investments in Children," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Hippolyte d’ALBIS & Paula E. GOBBI & Angela GREULICH, 2017. "Having a Second Child and Access to Childcare : Evidence from European Countries," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(2), pages 177-210, June.
    10. Berniell, Lucila & Fernandez, Daniel, 2021. "Jobs’ amenability is not enough: The role of household inputs for safe work under social distancing in Latin American cities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
    11. Hippolyte d’ALBIS & Paula E. GOBBI & Angela GREULICH, 2017. "Having a Second Child and Access to Childcare : Evidence from European Countries," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(2), pages 177-210, June.

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