Spousal influences on parents’ non-market time choices



This paper considers the effect of spouse’s characteristics on time devoted to leisure, child caregiving, and home production of married mothers and fathers using the American Time Use Survey (ATUS). Five spousal variables are considered: the relative wage of the wife compared to her husband, spouse’s weekly hours of employment, and the spouse’s time in three unpaid activities. Each requires instrumentation in order to address issues of endogeneity and possible selection bias. In addition, in order to handle the problem that there is only a single time diary per household, two alternative strategies are explored: out-of-sample prediction and propensity matching. Using either method, the results show little effect of one spouse on the unpaid time use of parents. Most importantly, relative wage does not appear to affect time use choices of parents. There does appear to be a small consistent effect of one’s spouse’s leisure time on own leisure time; husband’s and wife’s leisure time appears to be complementary.


Time use Propensity matching ATUS Child care Housework time Leisure Family decisionmaking 

JEL Classicification

J12 J13 J22 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bowdoin College and IZABrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Western Michigan University and IZAWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA

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