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Time for Children: Trends in the Employment Patterns of Parents, 1967–2009

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  • Liana Fox

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  • Wen-Jui Han
  • Christopher Ruhm
  • Jane Waldfogel

Abstract

Using data from the 1967–2009 years of the March Current Population Surveys (CPS), we examine two important resources for children’s well-being: time and money. We document trends in parental employment, from the perspective of children, and show what underlies these trends. We find that increases in family work hours mainly reflect movements into jobs by parents—particularly mothers, who in prior decades would have remained at home. This increase in market work has raised incomes for children in the typical two-parent family but not for those in lone-parent households. Time use data from 1975 and 2003–2008 reveal that working parents spend less time engaged in primary childcare than their counterparts without jobs but more than employed peers in previous cohorts. Analysis of 2004 work schedule data suggests that non-daytime work provides an alternative method of coordinating employment schedules for some dual-earner families. Copyright Population Association of America 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Liana Fox & Wen-Jui Han & Christopher Ruhm & Jane Waldfogel, 2013. "Time for Children: Trends in the Employment Patterns of Parents, 1967–2009," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(1), pages 25-49, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:50:y:2013:i:1:p:25-49 DOI: 10.1007/s13524-012-0138-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 2001. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 1063-1114.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, January.
    3. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 969-1006.
    4. David M. Blau & David K. Guilkey & Barry M. Popkin, 1996. "Infant Health and the Labor Supply of Mothers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 90-139.
    5. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
    6. Jane Waldfogel, 2006. "What do children need?," Public Policy Review, Institute for Public Policy Research, vol. 13(1), pages 26-34.
    7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
    8. John Sandberg & Sandra Hofferth, 2001. "Changes in children’s time with parents: United States, 1981–1997," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(3), pages 423-436, August.
    9. Suzanne Bianchi, 2000. "Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(4), pages 401-414, November.
    10. 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., vol. 30(4), pages 647-672.
    11. Heather Boushey, 2008. "“Opting out?” The effect of children on women's employment in the United States," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 1-36.
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    Cited by:

    1. Justo, Rachida & DeTienne, Dawn R. & Sieger, Philipp, 2015. "Failure or voluntary exit? Reassessing the female underperformance hypothesis," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 775-792.
    2. Künn-Nelen, A.C. & de Grip, A. & Fouarge, D., 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).
    3. Melinda Morrill & Sabrina Pabilonia, 2015. "What effects do macroeconomic conditions have on the time couples with children spend together?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 791-814, December.
    4. Frank Heiland & Joseph Price & Riley Wilson, 2017. "Maternal employment and time investments in children," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 53-67, March.
    5. Annemarie Künn-Nelen & Andries Grip & Didier Fouarge, 2015. "The Relation Between Maternal Work Hours and the Cognitive Development of Young School-Aged Children," De Economist, Springer, vol. 163(2), pages 203-232, June.
    6. Marina Gorsuch, 2016. "Decomposing the increase in men’s time on childcare during the great recession," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 53-82, March.
    7. Sarah Grace See, 2016. "Parental supervision and adolescent risky behaviors," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 185-206, March.
    8. Amy Hsin & Christina Felfe, 2014. "When Does Time Matter? Maternal Employment, Children’s Time With Parents, and Child Development," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(5), pages 1867-1894, October.
    9. repec:kap:reveho:v:15:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11150-017-9368-y is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Parental employment; Time use; Tag-team parenting;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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