Parental Child Care in Single-Parent, Cohabiting, and Married-Couple Families: Time-Diary Evidence from the United Kingdom

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David C. Ribar, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: The time that parents spend caring for their children is a topic of intense interest among researchers, policymakers, and parents themselves. Parental inputs of time are enormously valuable investments in children’s well-being and development. However, the declining prevalence of two-parent, married-couple families and the steady influx of mothers into the labor market are generally believed to have placed these investments at risk. We use time-diary data from the United Kingdom 2000 Time Use Study (UKTUS) to investigate how parents’ time spent in child care differs with their marital status and other characteristics. Unlike previous economic studies, which have analyzed alternative child-care activities but only among two-parent families (e.g., Peter Kooreman and Arie Kapteyn, 1987; Daniel Hallberg and Anders Klevmarken, 2003), we examine differences among married, cohabiting, and single-parent families. The household production model indicates that single-parent households may differ from married and cohabiting households either because there are fewer time resources or because there are fewer opportunities for economies of scale or specialization in household activities (Gary Becker, 1985). If marital relationships are more stable than cohabiting relationships, the type of union may matter.

Additional Information

American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings
Language: English
Date: 2005
Economics, family structure, United Kingdom

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