This article investigates inequality in parental spending on young children over the period from 1972 to 2010. I find increased spending among parents at the top of the income distribution but little change among parents at the bottom of the income distribution. The gap in spending is equally attributable to increased spending on center-based care for preschool-age children and spending on enrichment goods and activities. The article examines potential causes of increased spending, including income, parental education, and wife’s work status, using decomposition analysis. Results indicate that higher incomes are the largest cause of the increased gap in spending but that increases in wife’s earnings, college completion, and wife’s work hours are also important for growth in spending.
- child care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Developmental and Educational Psychology