Reconsidering Child Care Decisions: The Share Hypothesis

Michael Corey, University of Chicago
Rebecca M. Ryan, Georgetown University

Research on parents’ child care time finds that mothers and fathers play distinct parenting roles, with fathers spending more of time in play, and mothers spending more time in basic care. We test the hypothesis that this distinction applies more to parents with lower education levels than those with higher education levels by comparing the share of all child time parents allocate to basic care, management, teaching, and play rather than comparing the amount of time parents spend in specific activities. Using data from the 2003-7 American Time Use Survey (ATUS) (N = 8833), we find that parenting roles do converge at higher education levels, with college parents spending nearly equal shares of time in basic care and play, and high school and less than high school educated mothers spend a larger share of time in basic care and a smaller share of time in play than their male counterparts.

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Presented in Poster Session 1