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Maternal Employment and Adolescent Self-Care

Mounting evidence shows that self-care produces deleterious consequences for adolescents in the U.S. Since desscriptive evidence suggests that maternal employment is the primary explanation for adolescent self-care, maternal employment, it is frequently argued, is harming children. Heretofore, very little empirical research has actually investigated the impact of maternal employment on adolescent self-care, however, calling into question this assertion. This paper aims to fill this gap. The author uses the National Education Longitudinal Survey of 1988 supplemented by the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1979 to estimate the relationship between maternal employment and adolescent self-care. Unlike prior research, the author employs a variety of fixed effects models to account for omitted variables that may be related to maternal employment and adolescent self-care. Findings suggest that the adolescents of mothers who work full-time spend an additional 43 minutes per week in self-care compared to the adolescents of mothers who work part-time. Further, a standard deviation increase in the number of weeks a mother works during the year increases the probability that her child will be unsupervised by 27 percent. These effects are not constant across socio-economic groups: affluent families have strong effects, while the relationship is more tenuous among low-income families. This finding has important implications for pro-work social welfare policies in the United States.

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Paper provided by Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University in its series Center for Policy Research Working Papers with number 59.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:59
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  1. Thomas DeLeire & Ariel Kalil, 2001. "Good Things Come in Threes: Single-parent Multigenerational Family Structure and Adolescent Adjustment," JCPR Working Papers 242, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  2. Aizer, Anna, 2004. "Home alone: supervision after school and child behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1835-1848, August.
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