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Where Do They Find the Time?: An Analysis of How Parents Shift and Squeeze Their Time around Work and Child Care

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  • Lyn Craig

Abstract

Parents who undertake paid work are obliged to spend time away from their children, and to use nonparental childcare. This has given rise to concern that children are missing out on parental attention. However, time-use studies have consistently shown that parents who are in paid employment do not reduce their parental childcare time on an hour-for-hour basis. Since there are only 24 hours in the day, how do parents continue to be engaged in direct care of their own children while also committing significant time to labor market activities? Using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Time Use Survey 1997 (4,059 randomly selected households) to compare the time allocation of employed fathers, employed mothers, and mothers who are not in the labor force, this paper investigates how this phenomenon arises. The strategies available are reducing the time devoted to other activities (principally housework, sleep, leisure, bathing, dressing, grooming, eating), and rescheduling activities (from weekends to weekdays, or changing the time of day at which particular activities are undertaken). The paper investigates whether parents use nonparental care to reschedule as well as to replace their own care.

Suggested Citation

  • Lyn Craig, 2006. "Where Do They Find the Time?: An Analysis of How Parents Shift and Squeeze Their Time around Work and Child Care," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_439, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_439
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jonathan Gershuny & John Robinson, 1988. "Historical changes in the household division of labor," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(4), pages 537-552, November.
    2. Juster, F Thomas & Stafford, Frank P, 1991. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioral Models, and Problems of Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 471-522, June.
    3. Bruce Chapman & Yvonne Dunlop & Matthew Gray & Amy Liu & Deborah Mitchell, 1999. "The Foregone Earnings From Child Rearing Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 407, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    4. Martin Browning & Valérie Lechene, 2003. "Children and Demand: Direct and Non-Direct Effects," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 9-31, January.
    5. Michael Bittman, 1999. "Parenthood Without Penalty: Time Use And Public Policy In Australia And Finland," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 27-42.
    6. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2001. "Household production, full consumption and the costs of children," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(6), pages 621-648, December.
    7. Carlin, Paul S. & Flood, Lennart, 1997. "Do children affect the labor supply of Swedish men? Time diary vs. survey data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 167-183, June.
    8. Dominique Anxo & Paul Carlin, 2004. "Intra-family time allocation to housework - French evidence," electronic International Journal of Time Use Research, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), vol. 1(1), pages 14-36, August.
    9. David M. Blau, 1997. "The Production of Quality in Child Care Centers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(2), pages 354-387.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jay Stewart & Mary Dorinda Allard, 2008. "How Does Employment Affect the Timing of Time with Children?," Working Papers 419, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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