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Child health and parental paid work

TitleChild health and parental paid work
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBurton, P., Chen K., Lethbridge L., and Phipps S.
JournalReview of Economics of the Household
Pages597 - 620
Keywordschild disability, family, gender, intra-household, maternal labor force participation, within-household

We ask how the paid work of Canadian married mothers and fathers is affected when a child has a physical/mental condition or health problem that leads to restrictions in daily activities. Using the Statistics Canada National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, we find that married mothers of children with disabilities are less likely to engage in paid work and/or work fewer paid hours per week. No statistically significant changes in paid work participation or hours are apparent for fathers of the same children. We find, moreover, evidence that the degree of specialization within families increases when there is a child with a disability. These responses are consistent with traditional gender roles within families, and may make sense as a 'household' coping strategy. However, such a division of labor may generate economic vulnerability for mothers compared to fathers.

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