Investing Time in Children PaysTHE TIME SPENT WITH YOUNG CHILDREN HAS LONGTERM EFFECTS ON THEIR PERFORMANCE AT SCHOOL AND IN THE JOB MARKET, OBSERVES ALESSANDRA CASARICO IN A RESEARCH ON TWENTY COUNTRIES
Income inequality affects the equality of opportunity for children. Yet there is a less visible input in the children human capital accumulation process: parents’ time. The empirical evidence suggesting that more educated mothers and fathers give their children more financial resources and more time for educational activities has given rise to the study Distributional Aspects of Parental Time with Children: Evidence from the Multinational Time Use Study (1961-2011). It is an interdisciplinary research co-authored by Alessandra Casarico, Associate Professor of Public Finance at Bocconi University, with Alessandro Sommacal, an economist, and Evrim Altintas, a sociologist.
The data comes from the Multinational Time Use Study, a set of surveys from 20 countries in the last 50 years. The research focuses on married or cohabiting parents with children under 5. “What happens in that age group” Casarico says “has long-term effects on performance at school and in the labor market”. Rather than focusing on the average time that parents spend with their children, the study analyzes the entire empirical distribution of parental time and adopts measures such as the Gini coefficient to summarize the evolution of time inequality over the last fifty years and across countries.
“The results show that the inequality in paternal time investment has always been greater than maternal time inequality. The gap has narrowed in the last decade, but the reduction was driven by more educated fathers. Parental time inequality is positively related to income inequality and negatively related to the public expenditure on families and the enrollment in pre-primary schools. In some countries such as the U.S. there are many elements of risk that can affect children’s human capital accumulation process”.
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by Claudio Todesco