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The opportunity costs of childbearing: More than mothers’ business

Abstract.

This paper is an argument about gender relations. It takes the entwined themes of men‘s interests in parenthood, the sex division of labour and its evolution, policy for gender equity and policy to support the level of social reproduction. The emphasis on women‘s employment as a determinant of low fertility has to be supplemented by an examination of the assumption that only women‘s time use is affected by child-rearing. Many forces tend to concentrate fathers‘ involvement on breadwinning, but they are not immutable and are already changing. It should be in the interests of promoting social reproduction, as well as gender equity, for policy interventions to facilitate complementarities in parenting and in its combination with paid work. Descriptive evidence about the paid and unpaid work of couples and parents is presented, largely secondary material from the UK.

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Received: 13 June 1996 / Accepted: 27 June, 1997

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Joshi, H. The opportunity costs of childbearing: More than mothers’ business. J Popul Econ 11, 161–183 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480050063

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480050063

  • JEL classification: D13
  • J22
  • J13
  • Key words: Sex division of labour
  • fertility
  • fathers
  • gender relations
  • gender equity
  • time budgets