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Educational differences in parents’ time with children: Cross-national variations


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    Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4.

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    Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Department of Sociology, Ohio State University, 300 Bricker Hall, 190 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210 (


We analyze time diary data from 24,546 married mothers and married fathers in Canada, Germany, Italy, and Norway to determine whether the effect of education on child-care time varies cross-nationally. Our results indicate that more educated mothers spend more time with children than less educated mothers in each country, despite substantial cross-national variation in levels of economic support and services for families. This suggests that better educated mothers may have different parental values and behaviors than less educated mothers. Among fathers, however, education has no effect on child-care time in Norway, and only weak effects in Germany. This suggests that family policies that provide economic support to families may reduce time constraints on fathers, thus ameliorating educational effects.