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Under Pressure? Assessing the Roles of Skills and Other Personal Resources for Work-Life Strains

Author

Listed:
  • Blunch, Niels-Hugo
  • Ribar, David
  • Western, Mark

Abstract

Many working parents struggle to balance the demands of their jobs and family roles. Although we might expect that additional resources would ease work-family constraints, theory and evidence regarding resources have been equivocal. This study uses data on working mothers and fathers—as well as their cohabiting partners/spouses—from the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey to investigate how personal resources in the form of skills, cognitive abilities, and personality traits affect work-life strains. It considers these along with standard measures of economic, social, and personal resources, and estimates seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) models of work-life strains for employed mothers and fathers that account for correlations of the couple’s unobserved characteristics. The SUR estimates indicate that computer skills reduce work-life strains for mothers, that math skills reduce strains for fathers, and that the personality traits of extraversion, conscientiousness, and emotional stability reduce strains for both parents. However, the estimates also indicate that better performance on a symbol look-up task, which tests attention, visual scanning acuity, and motor speed, increases fathers’ work-life strains.

Suggested Citation

  • Blunch, Niels-Hugo & Ribar, David & Western, Mark, 2018. "Under Pressure? Assessing the Roles of Skills and Other Personal Resources for Work-Life Strains," GLO Discussion Paper Series 292, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:292
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/190971/1/GLO-DP-0292.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. T. Kifle & P. Kler & S. Shankar, 2014. "The power of the pram: do young children determine female job satisfaction?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(4), pages 289-292, March.
    2. Deborah A. Cobb‐Clark & Stefanie Schurer, 2013. "Two Economists' Musings on the Stability of Locus of Control," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 358-400, August.
    3. Cawley, John & Heckman, James & Vytlacil, Edward, 2001. "Three observations on wages and measured cognitive ability," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 419-442, September.
    4. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 969-1006.
    5. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jungmin Lee, 2007. "Stressed Out on Four Continents: Time Crunch or Yuppie Kvetch?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 374-383, May.
    6. Ilse Laurijssen & Ignace Glorieux, 2013. "Balancing Work and Family: A Panel Analysis of the Impact of Part-Time Work on the Experience of Time Pressure," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 112(1), pages 1-17, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Work-family strains and gains; cognitive abilities; skills; household resources; Australia; HILDA survey;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions

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