Time, Money and Job Spillover: How Parents' Jobs Affect Young People

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Abstract

This paper examines the perspectives of young people about their parents' paid and unpaid work, their preferences for time or money through more parental work, and their views about how their parents' jobs affect them. It analyses qualitative empirical data collected in Australia in late 2003, by means of focus groups among 10–12 and 16–18-year-old males and females in urban and rural locations in two Australian states, in both high and low socioeconomic areas. It finds that more Australian children are looking for more time from parents than more money from more parental work, though this varies by income level, location and parental hours. This preference for ‘time over more money’ is consistent in single- and dual-earner couple households as well as sole parent/earner households. Children are acute observers of parents and their jobs. Both positive and negative spillovers are widely observed. Negative spillovers from long or unsocial hours are especially marked, reinforcing other findings in support of policy interventions to contain long or unsocial hours.

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