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If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands: How Do Mothers and Fathers Really Feel about Child Caregiving?


  • Connelly, Rachel

    () (Bowdoin College)

  • Kimmel, Jean

    () (Western Michigan University)


This paper considers the question posed by popular media, do women like doing child care more than men? Using experienced emotions data paired with 24 hour time diaries from the 2010 American Time Use Survey, the paper explores gender differences in how men and women who have done some child caregiving on the previous day feel when engaged in a set of common daily activities. We find that both men and women enjoy their time in child caregiving, men as much, or even more so, than women as evidenced by their average values for happiness, tiredness, and stress, their predicted values for the same three emotions and via an aggregated statistic, the unpleasantness index. Counter-factual unpleasantness indices provide evidence that difference between men and women come almost completely from differences in their experience emotions rather than from differences in how they use their time.

Suggested Citation

  • Connelly, Rachel & Kimmel, Jean, 2013. "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands: How Do Mothers and Fathers Really Feel about Child Caregiving?," IZA Discussion Papers 7531, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7531

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands: How Do Mothers and Fathers Really Feel about Child Caregiving?
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2013-09-25 17:13:08


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    Cited by:

    1. Hielke Buddelmeyer & Daniel S. Hamermesh & Mark Wooden, 2015. "The Stress Cost of Children," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2015n01, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

    More about this item


    time use; subjective well-being; child care; gender wage gap; experienced emotions; happiness;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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