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Time Use of Mothers and Fathers in Hard Times and Better Times: The US Business Cycle of 2003-10

  • Gunseli Berik
  • Ebru Kongar

The US economic crisis and recession of 2007-09 accelerated the convergence of women's and men's employment rates as men experienced disproportionate job losses and women's entry into the labor force gathered pace. Using the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) data for 2003-10, this study examines whether the narrowing gap in paid work over this period was mirrored in unpaid work, personal care, and leisure time. We find that the gender gap in unpaid work followed a U-pattern, narrowing during the recession but widening afterward. Through segregation analysis, we trace this U-pattern to the slow erosion of gender segregation in housework and, through a standard decomposition analysis of time use by employment status, show that this pattern was mainly driven by movement toward gender-equitable unpaid hours of women and men with the same employment status. In addition, gender inequality in leisure time increased over the business cycle.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_696.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_696
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.levyinstitute.org

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  1. Mabsout, Ramzi & van Staveren, Irene, 2010. "Disentangling Bargaining Power from Individual and Household Level to Institutions: Evidence on Women's Position in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 783-796, May.
  2. Rachel Connelly & Jean Kimmel, 2009. "Spousal influences on parents’ non-market time choices," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 361-394, December.
  3. Fiona MacPhail & Xiao-yuan Dong, 2007. "Women's market work and household status in rural China: Evidence from Jiangsu and Shandong in the late 1990s," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3-4), pages 93-124.
  4. Jay Stewart, 2010. "The Timing of Maternal Work and Time with Children," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(1), pages 181-200, October.
  5. William J. Carrington & Kristin McCue & Brooks Pierce, 1996. "Black/White Wage Convergence: The Role of Public Sector Wages and Employment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(3), pages 456-471, April.
  6. Morrill, Melinda Sandler & Pabilonia, Sabrina Wulff, 2012. "What Effects Do Macroeconomic Conditions Have on Families' Time Together?," IZA Discussion Papers 6529, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Martha MacDonald & Shelley Phipps & Lynn Lethbridge, 2005. "Taking Its Toll: The Influence Of Paid And Unpaid Work On Women'S Well-Being," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 63-94.
  8. Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia & Younghwan Song, 2013. "Single Mothers’ Time Preference, Smoking, and Enriching Childcare: Evidence from Time Diaries," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(3), pages 424-424.
  9. Jean Kimmel & Rachel Connelly, 2007. "Mothers’ Time Choices: Caregiving, Leisure, Home Production, and Paid Work," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
  10. Mark A. Aguiar & Erik Hurst & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "Time Use During Recessions," NBER Working Papers 17259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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