Safety Concerns, Intensive Parenting, and the Rise in Childcare Time in 11 Industrialized Countries, 1980 to 2008

Javier Garcia-Manglano, University of Oxford
Almudena Sevilla-Sanz, Queen Mary University of London
Cristina Borra, Universidad de Sevilla

In this paper, we use Multinational Time Use Study (MTUS) data to explore rising trends of parental time with children in 11 industrialized countries (Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States) between 1980 and 2008. We show that demographic factors such as reduced fertility, increased maternal employment and education, or later age at first birth, are insufficient to account for the observed upward trend in childcare. We then use data from the International Crime Victims Survey (ICVS) and the World Values Survey (WVS) to explore two alternative behavioral explanations for parents' increased time investments in children: rising safety concerns, and the spread of intensive parenting norms. We find that the generalization of certain parenting styles can explain why parents are spending increasing amounts of time with children, whereas fears about safety constitute unlikely explanations of these trends.

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Presented in Session 156: Cross-National Contexts of Men's and Women's Family Work