Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Allen Goodman


In this paper, I explore two relationships using the three waves of the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. In the first model, I assess the effect of maternal employment on the quantity and quality of time spent with the child. I use child and family fixed estimation and I also look at whether this relationship varies according to the mother’s educational attainment, the gender and the age of the child. In the second model, I estimate child production functions to examine the effects of quantity and quality of mother-child time on children’s behavioral and cognitive development. I use value added production function models and I test two measures of quality time: (1) simply active (engaged) versus passive time, and (2) a quality time index constructed via Multiple Correspondence Analysis. Results indicate that working 40 hours per week reduces mother-child time by 4.8 hours, of which 2.4 hours are quality time. I find no significant effect of mother-child time on either cognitive or non-cognitive measures. Child cognitive outcomes are mainly affected by the mother’s educational attainment, while non-cognitive outcomes are shaped by her warmth and psychological distress, and neighborhood safety. I conclude that parent's education, parenting style, mother's distress, and neighborhood characteristics have more impact on child development than does mother's time input. Policies targeting child outcomes should focus more on those elements, and less on mother-child time and mother's employment.

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Economics Commons