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Mothers' work patterns and Children's cognitive achievement: Evidence from the India Human Development survey

Kriti, Vikram and Feinian, Chen and Desai, Sonalde (2018): Mothers' work patterns and Children's cognitive achievement: Evidence from the India Human Development survey. Published in: Social Science Research , Vol. 72, (2018): pp. 207-224.

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Abstract

As female labor force participation increases globally, the relationship between maternal em- ployment and children's development remains unclear. Using data from the India Human Development Survey (2005), we investigate the link between maternal employment and chil- dren's arithmetic and reading achievement. We develop a work pattern typology that goes be- yond standard measures of employment and captures work intensity and its compatibility with child-rearing in a transitional economy. We find that the relationship between maternal em- ployment and children's outcomes is not unidimensional. For example, children of self-employed mothers are not disadvantaged compared to those with stay-at-home mothers, but maternal employment in salaried jobs or wage work outside the home is negatively associated with cog- nitive skills in children. However, this negative association is reversed at higher levels of ma- ternal education, suggesting greater access to resources and flexibility associated with better jobs mitigate the negative aspects of maternal employment posed by time constraints. Additionally, maternal employment is associated with maternal involvement in schoolwork and financial in- vestment in academic activities, providing evidence that both time and resources devoted to children's education are significant.

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