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Could trends in time children spend with parents help explain the black–white gap in human capital? Evidence from the American Time Use Survey

Richard Patterson ()

Education Economics, 2017, vol. 25, issue 3, 219-233

Abstract: It is widely believed that the time children spend with parents significantly impacts human capital formation. If time varies significantly between black and white children, this may help explain the large racial gap in test scores and wages. In this study, I use data from the American Time Use Survey to examine the patterns in the time black and white children receive from mothers at each age between birth and age 14 years. I relate patterns in parenting time to trends in human capital formation observed in the literature. I observe that black children spend significantly less time with their mothers than white children in the first years of life. However, differences in parenting time rapidly decline with age and there are never significant differences in teaching time after socioeconomic variables are controlled. My findings suggest that the black–white human capital gap is unlikely to be driven by differences in teaching time or differences in parenting time after children enter school.

Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1080/09645292.2016.1235137

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