Parenthood and Gender Inequality

“Parenthood and the Gender Division of Labor across the Income Distribution: The Relative Importance of Relative Earnings”

(Published in European Sociological Review)

This study employs a gendered relative resource approach to examine whether the importance of relative resources varies by couples’ household income in shaping changes in the gender division of labour after first birth. Scholarship has long argued that the gender division of labour within different-sex couples is influenced by partners’ relative resources. However, couples face class-based constraints that may alter the relevance of relative resources in shaping changes in gender divisions of labour following the transition to parenthood. This study compares couples’ paid work and housework before and up to four years after first birth, using 28 waves of the British Household Panel Survey and the UK Household Longitudinal Study (N = 1,606 couples). I find that the effect of relative resources on changes in couple’s paid work and housework behavior after first birth varies substantially by household income. Among higher-income couples, women’s paid work and housework time changes less among those with high relative earnings and more among those with low relative earnings, while men’s time allocation varies little after first birth. In contrast, among low-income couples, women’s paid work time and share decreases most after first among female breadwinners while their male partners’ paid work time increases substantially. These findings reflect the greater constraints that low-income parents face in reconciling work and family and highlight the need for greater attention to class interactions in the process of gender specialization in both research and work-family policy.

"Gender, Parenting and the Rise of RemoteWork during the Pandemic: Implications for Domestic Inequality in the United States"

(Published in Gender & Society)

We examine how the shift to remote work altered responsibilities for domestic labor among partnered couples and single parents. The study draws on data from a nationally representative survey of 2,200 US adults, including 478 partnered parents and 151 single parents, in April 2020. The closing of schools and child care centers significantly increased demands on working parents in the United States, and in many circumstances reinforced an unequal domestic division of labor.

"Reducing Mommy Penalties with Daddy Quotas”

(Published in the Journal of European Social Policy)

This paper investigates whether daddy quotas – non-transferable paternity leave policies – mitigate motherhood penalties women face in the labour market. Using the introduction of a daddy quota in Quebec, Canada as a natural experiment, we employ labour force survey data to conduct a difference-in-difference estimation of the policy’s impact on a range of mothers’ career outcomes, using mothers in the neighboring province of Ontario as a comparison group. The results suggest Quebec mothers exposed to the policy are 5 percentage points more likely to participate in the labour force and to work full time, 5 percentage points less likely to work part time, and 4 percentage points less likely to be unemployed than they would have been in the absence of the policy. Our results are robust to an alternative semi-parametric difference-in-difference methodology and to a battery of placebo and sensitivity tests. However, we find that the policy’s effects are largest 2 to 3 years post-reform, reducing in size and significance thereafter, raising questions about the durability of such effects.

Social Disparities in Time Use

"Racial and Ethnic Difference in Homework Time among U.S. Teens”

(Published in Sociological Perspectives)

Along with intensified competition for college admissions, U.S. teens increasingly spend more time on educational activities. Homework can be a particularly important component of educational time for economically disadvantaged and racial/ethnic minority students who have limited access to private sources of learning beyond the classroom. This study uses data from the American Time Use Survey and the Programme for International Student Assessment to compare homework time by race/ethnicity and examine the factors that explain these differences. We extend existing literature to consider explanations beyond demographic and family background. Our ordinary least squares (OLS) results show that family background accounts for the difference in homework time between Hispanic and White students and partially explains the difference between Black and White students, with students’ academic characteristics or school fixed effects explaining the remaining gap. While these factors partially account for Asian students’ greater time spent on homework than their White peers, a substantial gap remains.


"Re-examining How Partner Co-presence and Multitasking Affect Parents’ Enjoyment of Childcare and Housework”

(Published in Sociological Science)

Partner co-presence and multitasking are two contextual characteristics of time use that are commonly theorized to affect parental well-being. Although partner co-presence is often assumed to promote greater well-being, multitasking is frequently conceptualized as an indicator of time pressure. This study re-examines the relationship between these contextual characteristics and parents’ enjoyment of childcare and housework. Using data from the U.K. Time Use Survey (2014–2015), our results indicate that associations between partner co-presence, multitasking, and enjoyment of unpaid work vary substantively depending on the type of task carried out. They also vary by gender of the parent. Mothers reported greater enjoyment of housework and interactive childcare with a partner present; however, this association did not extend to other types of childcare. Fathers’ enjoyment varied little by partner co-presence. Similarly, multitasking was a varied experience depending on the types of activities parents combined. In some instances, combining unpaid work activities (e.g., housework with childcare) was associated with lower enjoyment; however, combining unpaid work with leisure was often associated with greater enjoyment. These results add nuance to prior research on how the contextual characteristics of time use relate to parental well-being and suggest that prior conceptualizations of partner co-presence and multitasking are incomplete.

Care Inequalities

“Predicting Unmet Need for Social Care"

(Published in the Journal of Long-Term Care)

Demographic and other pressures have placed strains on the social (long-term) care systems in many countries. An aging population and cuts to local authority budgets have put pressure on the availability of local authority funded adult social care in England and have raised concerns about unmet social care needs among older people. This study uses data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (2002–2012) to assess the predictors of unmet needs for adult social care. We use an activities-based approach to develop a definition of unmet social care needs, drawing on available data, previous literature and consultations with social care users and carers. We then analyze the factors that predict developing an unmet care need over a 10-year period among a sample of those aged 50 and older. We find that the likelihood of developing unmet care needs does not differ by gender, socio-economic status or health behaviors. Instead, unmet care needs are most likely to develop through the sudden onset of care needs and the sudden loss of important sources of informal care (such as the loss of a spouse). These findings contribute to the current debate on the funding and organization of adult social care in England and will inform policymakers interested in addressing the issue of unmet social care needs among older people.