April 2012

IZA DP No. 6529: What Effects Do Macroeconomic Conditions Have on Families' Time Together?

published as 'What Effects do Macroeconomic Conditions Have on the Time Couples with Children Spend Together?' in: Review of Economics of the Household, 2015, 13(4), 791-814

We examine family time together using data from the 2003-2010 American Time Use Survey combined with Bureau of Labor Statistics data on state-level unemployment rates. Couple time together is U-shaped; while fathers spend more time engaging in enriching childcare activities without a spouse present as the unemployment rate rises. Patterns are similar for dual-earner couples, but appear concentrated among demographic groups most affected by recessions. We also find that mothers are less likely to work standard hours and more likely to work on weekends as employment crises deepen, which is consistent with both sets of results for family time together.