The Effect of Family Structure on Parents' Child Care Time in the United States and the United Kingdom

IZA Logo

IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 27.06.2006, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Leslie S. Stratton (Virginia Commonwealth University)


The time that parents devote to caring for their children represents an enormous, yet sometimes under-appreciated, investment in human capital. In this study, we use time-diary data from the 2003 and 2004 American Time Use Surveys (ATUS) and from the 2000 United Kingdom Time Use Study (UKTUS) to investigate the determinants of mothersí and fathersí time investments in child care in the U.S. and the U.K.. Our particular focus is on the effect of family structure (whether respondents are married, cohabiting, or single-parents) on time use. As both family structure and size (the number of children) are choice variables, we estimate systems of equations that control for the endogeneity of these choices. Time spent on primary child care, passive child care, and market work are modeled using correlated tobit equations to handle nonnegativity constraints and the constraints imposed by the 24 hour diary time limit. We find little difference in the time investments of married and cohabiting parents. The most substantial cross-country differences arise in the time spent on market work by single as opposed to couplebased households. Single parents in the U.S. spend more time on market work relative to their coupled counterparts, while single parents in the U.K. spend less time on market work relative to their coupled counterparts.

Download complete paper   
For more information, please contact