Educational Differences in Mothers' and Fathers' Time Use in U.S. Two-Parent Families: Differences in Cultural Preferences, Economic Incentives, or Income Constraints?

Paula S. England, Stanford University
Anjula Saraff, Stanford University

Using the ATUS, we explore educational differences in how married or cohabiting American mothers and fathers spend their time. We show that more educated men and women spend more time in child care. This is striking given that the well educated have smaller families and spend more time in paid work. More educated women (but not men) spend less time in housework. We use regression analyses to shed light on how much these differences are a result of different cultural preferences, facing different incentives, and/or facing different income constraints. Perhaps surprisingly, we find that the differences in parenting time are not merely a reflection of more income to buy out of housework, but persist under controls for these factors. This suggests a role for cultural preferences in addition to economic incentives (which undoubtedly affect paid work time) and economic constraints (which do not affect housework time).

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Presented in Session 191: Comparative Perspectives on Gender and Time Use in the Household