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Couple bargaining or socio-economic status? Why some parents spend more time with their children than others

Abstract : The quality of time dedicated to child care has potentially positive effects on children's life chances. However, the determinants of parental time allocation to child care remain largely unexplored. We assess two main explanations for differences among parents in the amount of time spent with children. The first, based on the relative resources hypothesis, links variation in time spent with children to the relative attributes (occupation, education or income) of one partner with the other. The second, derived from the social status hypothesis, suggests that variation in time spent with children can be attributed to the relative social position of the couple (i.e. higher status couples spend more time with children regardless of within-couple difference). To investigate these questions, we use a sample of parents living in a partnership with children younger than 10 years old from the 2002 to 2003 Spanish Time Use Survey (STUS) (n = 7438). We find little support for the ‘relative resources hypothesis’, although it has some explanatory power on supervisory and routine activities performed with children. Instead, consistent with the ‘social status hypothesis’, we find that time spent on child care is attributable to the social position of the couple, regardless of between-parent differences in income or education. The ‘social status hypothesis’ is especially relevant for explaining the time that parents devote to activities that have a higher potential for the development of the child's cognitive and social capabilities.
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Submitted on : Sunday, October 24, 2021 - 11:24:32 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 11:42:17 AM

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Pau Baizan, Marta Dominguez Folgueras, Maria José Gonzales. Couple bargaining or socio-economic status? Why some parents spend more time with their children than others. European Societies, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2013, 16 (1), pp.3 - 27. ⟨hal-03399914⟩

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