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Time use in child care and housework and the total cost of children


The use of time for child care and housework among Swedish families is investigated. We allow the effect of children on child care and housework to vary by age of the child and also by whether the child is cared for outside the home or not. Our estimates allow us to compute the total cost of children in the form of the cost of time, and the cost of goods, services and housing.

The result shows that time used for child care decreases sharply with the age of the child but this is not the case for time used for other housework. Considerable economies of scale is found to prevail for time used for child care. Child care outside the home reduces time use for other housework but the effect on time used for child care is quite small. For the average family time use cost make up more than half of total child cost. Our estimates indicate that decreased time use cost for children caused by care outside the home are not very different from a typical parental fee for public day care.

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This research was supported by a grant from the Swedish Council of Social Research (SFR). We thank Lennart Flood for useful comments on an earlier version.

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Gustafsson, B., Kjulin, U. Time use in child care and housework and the total cost of children. J Popul Econ 7, 287–306 (1994).

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  • Child Care
  • Average Family
  • Family Time
  • Total Child
  • Swedish Family