Response of parental time investments to children’s skills and health

MiSoC researcher Nicoletti (with Tonei) uses time-use diaries to define parental investments as the time parents spend in formative activities with their child. Unlike proxies of time investment, such as parents’ employment status and number of working hours, the measure of time investment reflects the “quality” time that parents spend with children. It differs from most of the other measures of investment by being more reactive and therefore allowing to better capture how parental investments react to changes across time in children’s physical health, cognitive and socio-emotional skills. By using the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, the researchers find that parents’ time investments compensate for negative changes in their child’s physical health, reinforce for changes in socio-emotional skills and are neutral to changes in cognitive skills.