Labor economics, Demographic economics, adolescent self-care, maternal employment, National Education Longitudinal Survey of 1988, National Longitudinal Survey of Youth
Mounting evidence shows that self-care produces deleterious consequences for adolescents in the U.S. Since descriptive evidence suggests that maternal employment is the primary explanation for adolescent self-care, maternal employment, it is frequently argued, is harming children. Heretofore, very little empirical research has actually investigated the impact of maternal employment on adolescent self-care, however, calling into question this assertion. This paper aims to fill this gap. The author uses the National Education Longitudinal Survey of 1988 supplemented by the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1979 to estimate the relationship between maternal employment and adolescent self-care. Unlike prior research, the author employs a variety of fixed effects models to account for omitted variables that may be related to maternal employment and adolescent self-care. Findings suggest that the adolescents of mothers who work full-time spend an additional 43 minutes per week in self-care compared to the adolescents of mothers who work part-time. Further, a standard deviation increase in the number of weeks a mother works during the year increases the probability that her child will be unsupervised by 27 percent. These effects are not constant across socio-economic groups: affluent families have strong effects, while the relationship is more tenuous among low-income families. This finding has important implications for pro-work social welfare policies in the United States.
Lopoo, Leonard M., "Maternal Employment and Adolescent Self-Care" (2004). Center for Policy Research. Paper 104.
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