Paternal Childcare in the Early Years in the U.K.: Determinants and Consequences for the School Readiness of Girls and Boys

Elizabeth Washbrook, University of Bristol

This paper uses a UK dataset containing detailed measures of fathers’ provision of primary childcare in the first three years of children’s lives. We highlight the importance of fathers as a source of childcare in this period and explore the circumstances in which paternal childcare is employed, using an economic model of the family as a framework. We then explore the consequences of paternal care for children’s readiness for school at age 4. Innovations in this paper are the use of data on children’s early attributes to explore the issue of reverse causation, and a bootstrap technique that allows us to estimate standard errors on the change in the paternal care coefficient when additional groups of controls are included. We find no evidence of effects of paternal care on girls, but find a range of effects for boys, depending on the outcome studied and the type of care employed.

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Presented in Poster Session 5