To read this content please select one of the options below:

The Impact of Job Loss on Parental Time Investment

Anja Gruber (University of Colorado, USA)

Time Use in Economics

ISBN: 978-1-83753-605-4, eISBN: 978-1-83753-604-7

Publication date: 14 December 2023


Parental job loss has been shown to have a negative impact on a large number of children's outcomes, in particular for low-income children. Given the amount of time freed up by loss of employment and the fact that active time with one's children appears to be a productive input in their human capital production function, increases in the time parents spend with their children have the potential to positively impact a child or to counteract other negative consequences of parental job loss. This chapter studies how low- and higher-income parents change their time investment in their children when faced with job loss. Using national time-diary data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) linked to longitudinal labor market data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), I find that parents spend almost 15% of the time freed up by job loss – roughly 3.5 additional hours per week – actively with their children. Low-income parents invest their freed-up time no differently from higher-income parents. While mothers who lose their job respond by spending more time actively with their children, this adjustment is much smaller for fathers. This suggests that differential adjustments in time investment may play a role in the impact maternal versus paternal job loss has on children's outcomes.




I thank Brian Cadena, Taylor Jaworski and Terra McKinnish for their guidance and feedback on this chapter, as well as participants of the CU Boulder Research Seminar for their feedback.


Gruber, A. (2023), "The Impact of Job Loss on Parental Time Investment", Hamermesh, D.S. and Polachek, S.W. (Ed.) Time Use in Economics (Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 51), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 105-134.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024 by Emerald Publishing Limited