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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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    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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