Inequality in Parental Time with Children: Trends by Gender and Education between 1961 and 2011 across 20 Countries.

Evrim Altintas, University of Oxford
Nicoletta Balbo , Bocconi University
Alessandra Casarico, Bocconi University
Alessandro Sommacal, University of Verona

This paper investigates dynamics of inequality in parental child-care time with children using data from the Multinational Time Use Study across 20 countries. Using the Gini coefficient as a summary measure of inequality in the use of time at the country level we ask the following two questions: how has inequality in parental time with children evolved over time? To what extent is such inequality driven by inequality in parental time by gender and socio-economic status? Our findings suggest that inequality in paternal time has been higher than inequality in maternal time throughout the last half-century. The gap has narrowed over the last decade because inequality in maternal time with children has remained constant, whereas that in paternal time has slightly decreased. In addition, the Gini coefficient among low-educated parents started to be consistently higher than that of high-educated parents since the 1970s, exhibiting a widening educational gap for fathers (but not mothers) over time. We also find that inequality in parental time with children is positively correlated with the Gini index on disposable income and the poverty ratio, and negatively correlated with enrolment in pre-primary school and family policy expenditure. As these factors are all indicative of the extent to which children face equal opportunities, our findings suggest that the way private and public financial resources are distributed tends to reinforce (rather than compensate) inequality in time spent with children, thus posing a threat to the ideal of a level playing field.

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 Presented in Session 105. (Re)Production of Inequalities