Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 921–940 | Cite as

Family time of couples with children: shortening gender differences in parenting?

  • Joan Garcia Roman
  • Clara Cortina


In the context of dramatic changes in family organization, this research analyzes time shared with the family (partner and children) among couples with young children in Spain. The main purpose of the paper is to analyze the differences in the roles of mothers and fathers in dual-earner and male-breadwinner couples. For this purpose, we use information derived from the question “with whom the activity is done,” which is included in the enumeration form of the Spanish Time Use Survey 2009–2010. The availability of time-use diaries for all the members of a household allows the use of the couple as a unit of analysis. The descriptive and multivariate results show that mothers spend more time with children than fathers do and that the employment-status variables are the most determining factors. Gender-balanced couples have lower differences in the time that fathers and mothers spend on activities with their children. However, the differences remain high, and mothers are still the main caregivers in the household. These findings apply to a specific context characterized by weak policies related to balancing family and work and by the persistence of a division of roles in the couple with some resemblances to the traditional model, especially in the role that considers mothers the main caregivers.


Family time Time use Dual-earner couples Spain 

JEL Classification




The authors acknowledge support from the Minnesota Population Center under NIH Center Grant R24HD041023 and Data Extract Builder of the ATUS (University of Maryland, R01HD053654; University of Minnesota, Z195701) and from the Ministerio de Educacion y Ciencia “Demografía familiar y movilidad social” (CSO2013-43461-R) and “El rol de los hombres en la dinámica familiar desde una perspectiva internacional” (CSO2013-43482-R).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Minnesota Population Center, University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Universitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain

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