Conceptualizing Child Care Patterns in a Dual-Carer Setting
Helen Eriksson, Stockholm University
This study conceptualizes care as a trajectory of time allocations by mothers and fathers over the child’s early years. Starting from the fixed requirement of care for 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, the allocation of time to care is theorized to be driven by the relative values of three distinct dimensions: economic costs of parental vs. non-parental care; parents’ work attachment; and gendered parenting. The analysis is based on a unique set of administrative data, parental leave episodes over the first two years for 4,217 children born in Sweden in 2009. Sequence and cluster analyses identify eight distinct patterns of care. Multinomial logistic regression models the determinants of each of the patterns. Differences in primary caregiving (mother or dual), sharing of care, length of parental care and distribution of care spells are interpretable in relation to the varying importance of the underlying care dimensions.