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Steven Bosworth (Internal Seminar)
Title: Parental time investments and instantaneous well-being in the United States (with Almudena Sevilla and Ignacio Gimenez-Nadal)
Abstract: We use the Well-being Modules of the American Time Use Survey to document that, despite spending about 30 minutes more in child care per day, higher educated mothers report lower levels of instantaneous well-being than less-educated mothers during child-related activities. Our results hold after controlling for a wide set of cofounders, including life satisfaction. We present an identity economics model of “intensive mothering” to explain these findings: mothers with high education relative to a reference group select into an identity which places high value on human capital outcomes. This identity confers high social prestige but requires costly investments to maintain a separating equilibrium. Consistent with the model, we find that the education gradient in maternal instantaneous well-being is unique to child care activities. There is no education gradient during non-child-related activities, among fathers or among non-mothers.