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Household Composition and Gender Difference in Parental Time Investments

Andrew Bibler

No 2017-01, Working Papers from University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics

Abstract: Recent research documents considerable gender gaps in non-cognitive skills among children and adolescents raised in single-parent households. However, determining the source of these gaps is complicated due to the presence of many interrelated and often unobservable inputs. One potential explanation for such gaps is that boys and girls receive different levels of parental time investments. If correlated with household structure differentially by gender, time investments could help explain gender differences in non-cognitive skills, as well as the sensitivity of outcomes and behavior of boys to household composition. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and accompanying Child Development Supplement (CDS), I estimate gender differences in parental time investments, defined as the amount of time parents spend participating in activities with the child, around changes in household composition. I find that, although both boys and girls experience reductions in parental time investments following a change from a two-parent to single-mother household, boys experience a larger reduction than girls. The largest difference is found in fathers’ time investments on weekdays, for which boys lose an additional 24 minutes per day (35% of average paternal weekday investments). Moreover, there is little to no evidence that single mothers compensate for the loss by increasing time investments to boys relative to girls.

Keywords: education (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 J12 J13 J16 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-gen and nep-neu
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