Panel: Public Policies and Family Time Use: Implications for Research and Policy Innovation
(Family and Child Policy)

Friday, November 9, 2018: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Hoover - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  H. Elizabeth Peters, Urban Institute
Discussants:  Liana Christin Landivar, U.S. Department of Labor and Rebecca Ryan, Georgetown University

The Earned Income Tax Credit and Parent-Child Time Use
Taryn Morrissey, American University

The Effect of State Paid Family Leave Policies on Parent-Child Time Use
Katie Vinopal1, Taryn Morrissey2 and Seth Gershenson2, (1)The Ohio State University, (2)American University

Money and time represent separate but often competing budget constraints for families. Whereas a wealth of research in the United States has examined how monetary resources relate to child and family outcomes, relatively little U.S. research in the U.S. has explored the effects of policies on time use, the heterogeneity of these effects, or the intersections of money and time.

The three papers in this panel examine patterns of parent-child time use among families with children and how public policies affect these patterns. In the first paper, Milkie examines mothers’ educational attainment and time with children using nationally representative time-diary data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), noting diverging destinies and implications for socioeconomic inequality. In the second paper, Vinopal and colleagues use a difference-in-difference analysis, also with data from the ATUS, to examine how the publicly supported paid family leave programs in California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island affect the parent-child time, both in the short- and long-term. Finally, the third paper by Morrissey employs quasi-experimental analyses to examine the effects of receipt and the refund rate of the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) on parent-child time use. Specifically, she combines data from the ATUS, the Current Population Survey (CPS), and state level policy information the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research’s National Welfare Database, and preliminary findings suggest that the income increase via EITC refunds may facilitate more enriching parent-child time. Importantly, all three papers attend to the quantity of and various measures of the quality of parent-child time. Together, the findings from these papers shed light on how public policies affect parents’ most precious resource – time – and discuss implications for children’s outcomes and socioeconomic inequality. The papers inform how future research can better assess and analyze the effects of policies on time use and implications for child well-being. 

Our two discussants, Liana Landivar and Rebecca Ryan, provide a range of expertise. With experience across the federal government at the U.S. Census, the National Science Foundation, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Landivar is a sociologist and senior researcher with expertise in women’s employment and work-life policies. Ryan is a developmental psychologist with experience in time use research, family structure, and socioeconomic inequalities in relation to children’s outcomes. Together, they will provide insight into how the papers inform child and family policy, as well as directions for future research. Presentations will provide an interdisciplinary perspective on time use research, representing public policy, sociology, and developmental psychology. The panel discussion will include implications for incorporating measures of time use into policy evaluations and innovations.

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