Who Ya Gonna Call? : Gender Inequality in the Demand for Parental Involvement

Abstract

Prior studies find significant inequalities in time spent by men and women in heterosexual households on child-related tasks even when both work full time. We develop a theoretical model and field experiment to study if this inequality comes from external demands from decision-makers which we call the motherhood effect. We send emails to school principals from a two-parent household asking for a call back about an inquiry. We provide a unique phone number for each parent and track who is contacted first. We randomly vary the informational signals about which parent has more availability. This allows us to investigate whether the motherhood effect can be mitigated by household signaling. Furthermore, we explore if effects vary by gender of the principal. We can then compare household based versus external decision-maker based policies to close the gender gap in parental involvement.

Kristy Buzard
Kristy Buzard
Associate Professor of Economics

My current research focuses on the formation and maintenance of international trade agreements, conflict resolution, and innovation. I am particularly interested in the impact of international institutions, government structure and domestic political pressure on the possibilities for cooperation.