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Single-mother families and the gender gap in children’s time investment and non-cognitive skills

Author

Listed:
  • Letizia Mencarini

    () (Bocconi University - Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy)

  • Silvia Pasqua

    () (University of Turin & ChilD-CCA)

  • Agnese Romiti

    () (IAB (Institute for Employment Research))

Abstract

Abstract This paper analyzes the role of family structure in the gender gap in children’s time investment in studying and non-cognitive skills. We focus on Italy, a country that, similar to many other OECD countries, is experiencing both an increasing number of single-parent families (most of which are headed by mothers) and an increasing gender gap in children’s cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes. By using a difference-in-differences specification comparing children’s outcomes in single- vs. two-parent families for boys compared to girls, we analyze the differential effect across gender of living with a single mother on both the amount of time spent studying and the amount of effort put into studying. Our analysis suggests that living in a single-mother family has a more detrimental effect on boys, though all children—regardless of gender—receive fewer parental inputs if they live with a single mother. The greater detrimental effect of living with a single mother for boys seems to be driven by less educated, less well-off families or families with working mothers.

Suggested Citation

  • Letizia Mencarini & Silvia Pasqua & Agnese Romiti, 2019. "Single-mother families and the gender gap in children’s time investment and non-cognitive skills," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 149-176, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:17:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s11150-017-9385-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-017-9385-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Morales, Marina, 2018. "Can the composition of the family during adolescence influence their future unemployment situation? Evidence for Spain," MPRA Paper 86770, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Children time investment; Non-cognitive skill; Single-mother families;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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