Working Paper

Gender Gaps in Parental Investments in Young Children: Uncovering the Role of Parental Beliefs

Social Science Research Network (SSRN) | December 07, 2022
Julie Pernaudet; Dana L. Suskind, MD

Recent research shows that differences in childcare responsibilities led to larger employment losses for women during the COVID-19 recession, contributing to a widening of gender inequalities. This pre-print paper explores a new potential mechanism for gender gaps in parental investments: differences in beliefs between fathers and mothers of young children. We find that fathers are significantly less likely to believe in the importance of parental investments for child development compared to mothers. Differences in beliefs explain up to 13% of the gender gap in the time spent doing educational activities with the child.