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Time Use of Mothers and Fathers in Hard Times: The US Recession of 2007-09

  • Gunseli Berik
  • Ebru Kongar

The recession precipitated by the US financial crisis of 2007 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 recession also occasioned a decline in disparity in unpaid work burdens and provided impetus for overall progress toward equity in the workloads, leisure time, and personal care hours of mothers and fathers. Controlling for the prerecession trends, we find that the recession contributed to the convergence of both paid and unpaid work only during the December 2007-June 2009 period. The combined effect of the recession and the jobless recovery was a move toward equity in the paid work hours of mothers and fathers, a relative increase in the total workload of mothers, and a relative decline in their personal care and leisure time.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_726.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_726
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.levyinstitute.org

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  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Melinda Sandler Morrill & Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia, 2012. "What Effects do Macroeconomic Conditions Have on Families' Time Together?," Working Papers 454, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  4. Lynne Casper & Martin O’Connell, 1998. "Work, income, the economy, and married fathers as child-care providers," Demography, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 243-250, May.
  5. 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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