Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 353-384

First online:

The effect of family structure on parents’ child care time in the United States and the United Kingdom

  • Charlene M. KalenkoskiAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, Ohio University
  • , David C. RibarAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • , Leslie S. StrattonAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, Virginia Commonwealth University Email author 

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We use time-diary data from the 2003 and 2004 American Time Use Surveys and the 2000 United Kingdom Time Use Study to estimate the effect of family structure on the time mothers and fathers spend on primary and passive child care and on market work, using a system of correlated Tobit equations. Our results indicate that estimates are sensitive to the inclusion of a common household factor that controls for selection into family type. Estimates from the selection-controlled models indicate that single parents in both countries spend more time in child care than married or cohabiting parents, perhaps in part to compensate for the missing parent, but that there is no difference in the time allocation of married and cohabiting parents. There are substantial cross-country differences, however, as single parents in the U.S. work more than other parents and single parents in the U.K. work less.


Time use Child care Family structure

JEL Classifications

J1 J2