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Time with Children: Do Fathers and Mothers Replace Each Other When One Parent is Unemployed?

Le temps consacré aux enfants: les parents se substituent-ils l’un à l’autre quand l’un est au chômage?
  • Ariane PailhéEmail author
  • Anne Solaz
Article

Abstract

This article aims to study the substitution of parental time between the mother and the father. Taking the “experience” of unemployment as a release from the time constraint, we analyse time transfers between partners in such a situation. A bivariate Tobit model is applied on the French time-use data. It shows that parents quite rarely substitute the time devoted to children between each other, except for child transportation and childcare. Parents do not want to relinquish their parental activities, a fact which reflects their desire to contribute to the children’s education, and the contribution of parental time to the balance of power between spouses. Exchanges remain asymmetric: non-employed fathers release less their partner from parental tasks than unemployed mothers do, which reflects the weight of gender social norms.

Keywords

Parental time Childcare Unemployment Family time use Household division of labour Social norms 

Résumé

Cet article étudie les réallocations de temps consacré aux enfants entre parents. Nous analysons le cas particulier des transferts de temps entre conjoints quand l’un est au chômage, situation dans laquelle la contrainte de temps est plus souple. A partir d’un modèle tobit bivarié estimé à partir des données françaises de l’Enquête Emplois du temps (INSEE 1999), nous montrons que les parents se substituent rarement pour le temps consacré aux enfants, sauf pour les temps de trajet et les activités de soins. Les parents renoncent peu à leurs activités parentales, manifestant ainsi leur désir de contribuer tous deux à l’éducation de leurs enfants, le temps parental pouvant se révéler un moyen d’exercer son pouvoir au sein du couple. Les échanges restent asymétriques, les pères chômeurs déchargeant moins leur conjointe des tâches parentales que les mères au chômage, ce qui reflète le poids des normes sociales.

Mots-clés

temps parental soins aux enfants chômage allocation du temps division du travail normes sociales 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INEDParis Cedex 20France

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