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Boy-Girl Differences in Parental Time Investments: Evidence from Three Countries

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  • Michael Baker
  • Kevin Milligan

Abstract

We study differences in the time parents spend with girls and boys at preschool ages in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. We refine previous evidence that fathers commit more time to boys, showing this greater commitment emerges with age and is not present for very young children. We next examine differences in specific parental teaching activities such as reading and the use of number and letters. We find the parents commit more of this time to girls, starting at ages as young as 9 months. We explore possible explanations of this greater commitment to girls including explicit parental preference and boy-girl differences in costs of these time inputs. Finally, we offer evidence that these differences in time inputs are potentially important: in each country the boy-girl difference in inputs can account for a non-trivial proportion of the boy-girl difference in preschool reading and math scores.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2013. "Boy-Girl Differences in Parental Time Investments: Evidence from Three Countries," NBER Working Papers 18893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18893
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    Cited by:

    1. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Valentina Duque, 2017. "Childhood Circumstances and Adult Outcomes: Act II," NBER Working Papers 23017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:spr:izalbr:v:7:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1186_s40172-018-0062-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Julie Moschion, 2017. "Gender gaps in early educational achievement," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(4), pages 1093-1134, October.
    4. Brodeur, Abel & Connolly, Marie, 2013. "Do higher child care subsidies improve parental well-being? Evidence from Quebec's family policies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 1-16.
    5. Venke Furre Haaland & Mari Rege & Kjetil Telle & Mark Votruba, 2014. "The intergenerational transfer of the employment gender gap," Discussion Papers 767, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    6. Kabátek, Jan & Ribar, David C., 2017. "Teenage Daughters as a Cause of Divorce," IZA Discussion Papers 11046, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Ingvild Almås & Alexander W. Cappelen & Kjell G. Salvanes & Erik Ø. Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2016. "Willingness to Compete: Family Matters," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(8), pages 2149-2162, August.
    8. Palloni, Giordano, 2017. "Childhood health and the wantedness of male and female children," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 19-32.
    9. Jan Saarela & Fjalar Finnäs, 2014. "Sex composition of children, parental separation, and parity progression: Is Finland a Nordic outlier?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 30(2), pages 49-70, January.
    10. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2015. "Non-Cognitive Deficits and Young Adult Outcomes: The Long-Run Impacts of a Universal Child Care Program," NBER Working Papers 21571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Gathmann, Christina & Sass, Björn, 2017. "Taxing Childcare: Effects on Childcare Choices, Family Labor Supply and Children," IZA Discussion Papers 10813, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Sandner, Malte, 2013. "Effects of Early Childhood Intervention on Child Development and Early Skill Formation. Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-518, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    13. Andrew Bibler, 2017. "Household Composition and Gender Difference in Parental Time Investments," Working Papers 2017-01, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
    14. Venke Furre Haaland & Mari Rege & Kjetil Telle & Mark Votruba, 2013. "The Intergenerational Transfer of the Gender Gap in Labor Force Participation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4489, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. Ha Trong Nguyen, 2015. "The evolution of the gender test score gap through seventh grade: New insights from Australia using quantile regression and decomposition," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1507, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
    16. Brenoe, Anne Ardila & Lundberg, Shelly, 2016. "Gender Gaps in the Effects of Childhood Family Environment: Do They Persist into Adulthood?," IZA Discussion Papers 10313, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Huong Thu Le & Ha Trong Nguyen, 2018. "The evolution of the gender test score gap through seventh grade: new insights from Australia using unconditional quantile regression and decomposition," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-42, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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