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Paternal child care and children's development


This paper uses the NLSY-Child data to assess the effects on cognitive and social-emotional development of father care as a child care arrangement among children in two-parent families with working mothers. Our results show that father care for infants is no better or worse than other types of arrangements. However, toddlers in non-paternal modes of child care (e.g., relatives, family day care or center care) have slightly better cognitive outcomes than those whose fathers provided care. Although our analyses do not provide a definitive explanation for this finding, there is a substantial influx of fathers in our data who provide child care in years 2 and 3 and these fathers appear compositionally different from fathers who provided care during a child's infancy. In particular, there is some indication that these fathers who are newly providing care during a child's toddler years may be temporary care providers due to changing economic circumstances.

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Correspondence to Susan L. Averett.

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The research was supported by NICHD grant #HD30944.

Responsible editor: Deborah Cobb-Clark.

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Averett, S., Gennetian, L. & Peters, H. Paternal child care and children's development. J Popul Econ 18, 391–414 (2005).

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  • Care Provider
  • Child Care
  • Center Care
  • Cognitive Outcome
  • Care Arrangement