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Three essays on family care, time allocation, and economic well -being

Jayoung Yoon, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The first essay explores the impact of gender norms on time allocation to housework by asking whether individual attitudes towards the gendered division of labor between paid employment and family care mediate the relationship between wives' income share and time spent on housework. I hypothesize that patriarchal attitudes can impose a "psychic transactions cost" on individuals that impedes efficient allocation of time and introduces frictions into household bargaining. Regression analysis of the 2004 Korean Time Use Survey which collected data on both attitudes and time allocation of married couples shows that husbands' egalitarian attitudes play a particularly important role in increasing their own housework and decreasing their wives' level and share of housework, particularly within households where wives also reveal egalitarian attitudes. The second essay develops and compares input and output-based replacement-cost estimates of the value of parental child care services in the U.S. in 2003-2006. My estimates build on the previous literature on the value of child care in the U.S. in the following ways: (1) I define child care broadly to include supervisory and on-call responsibilities and (2) I explore the sensitivity of valuation to assumptions regarding the effect of adult/child ratios that are likely to affect labor intensity and care quality. The results suggest that the input approach is likely to underestimate productivities of child care time for mothers relative to fathers, multiple-child families relative to one-child families. They also show the significant impact of the indirect child care time and labor intensity/care quality on values of child care time, calling careful attention to this issue in valuing unpaid parental child care time. The third essay develops an "output consumption" approach, illustrating the effect of different assumptions regarding the degree of rivalry in the time devoted to household production. With an analysis of the 2003-2006 American Time Use Surveys (ATUS), the findings suggest that prior empirical studies on the "time costs" of children, which focused on time inputs only and ignore the degree of rivalry in household consumption in concluding significant economies of scale in raising children, have overestimated the extent of economies of scale in childrearing. Keywords. Time allocation, gender norm, housework, valuation of parental child care, input versus output approach, household production, time costs of children, Korean Time Use Survey, American Time Use Survey.

Subject Area

Economics|Economic theory

Recommended Citation

Yoon, Jayoung, "Three essays on family care, time allocation, and economic well -being" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3336973.