Paternal child care and children's development

Susan L. Averett, Lisa A. Gennetian, H. Elizabeth Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper uses the NLSY-Child data to assess the effects on cognitive and social-emotional development of father care as a child care arrangement among children in two-parent families with working mothers. Our results show that father care for infants is no better or worse than other types of arrangements. However, toddlers in non-paternal modes of child care (e.g., relatives, family day care or center care) have slightly better cognitive outcomes than those whose fathers provided care. Although our analyses do not provide a definitive explanation for this finding, there is a substantial influx of fathers in our data who provide child care in years 2 and 3 and these fathers appear compositionally different from fathers who provided care during a child's infancy. In particular, there is some indication that these fathers who are newly providing care during a child's toddler years may be temporary care providers due to changing economic circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-414
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Population Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Economics and Econometrics


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