Parental Time Investment and Educational Stratification in Germany

Julia Cordero Coma, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Gosta Esping-Andersen, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Parental time investment in childcare is considered a key factor in children’s cognitive and emotional development. This study examines two underexplored issues: the effect of time inputs in early childhood on educational achievement in late teen-hood, and differences in the effect across levels of education of both parents. Data from the German Socioeconomic Panel are analyzed applying various methodological strategies, one of which controls for siblings fixed-effects. The analyses show, firstly, that the entire effect derives from maternal involvement; we find no independent significant effect of fathers’ time investment. Secondly, maternal time dedication (at age 2-3) increases the likelihood of attending the prestigious Gymnasium track at age 17 for children of highly educated parents, especially in cases of educational homogamy. Thirdly, as expected, children of less educated parents are far less likely to attend Gymnasium. But, surprisingly, for these children the intensity of parenting seems to make no difference whatsoever.

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Presented in Session 191: Education and Child Well-Being