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Department of Sociology


Our current research broadly centers on three questions:

  1. How do disparities in parent’s flexible work arrangements shape disparities in parents’ caregiving time?
  2. How do socioeconomic inequalities in parents’ work conditions shape disparities in children’s development and wellbeing?
  3. How do persistent gender norms shape inequalities in parents’ time use at both work and at home?

Below are our ongoing projects that engage with these three questions. Projects in development include:

Project Title: Employers Unequal Perceptions of Mothers’ and Fathers’ Requests for Flexible Work Arrangements

Project Summary: This project aims to assess whether mothers face greater work stigma’s when requesting flexible scheduling compared to fathers. The results will highlight an understudied form of gender and family inequality – mothers’ unequal access to flexible work arrangements – and reveal the work-side of how gender inequality within families is reproduced. This project will involve multiple methods but will begin using an experiment. This project is in the early stages of development, and we welcome students who want to be involved.


Project Title: Occupational Disparities in Parents’ Scheduling Control and Children’s Wellbeing

Project Summary: This project examines whether occupational differences in parents’ scheduling control are associated with disparities in parents’ and children’s health and wellbeing, or whether increased scheduling control for parents in lower skill jobs can improve their and their children’s outcomes. It does so by tackling a long-standing issue that has limited knowledge on the topic—lack of current, representative data with detailed information on parents’ scheduling control and the developmental and health outcomes of their children—by making novel use of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) Leave and Job Flexibilities Module (2017-2018) and the 2014 and 2019 waves of the Child Development Supplement (CDS) and linked Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) in three key ways. This project is in the in the early stages of development, and we welcome students who want to be involved.

Our projects that are further along and presently being considered for publication are:

Project Title: Parents’ Access to Flexible Work Arrangements and Time in Active Caregiving Activities

Project Summary: This study examines whether parents’ access to two flexible work options—flexible schedules and working at home—are positively associated with parents’ time investments in the types of parental investment activities linked to children’s development. We use data from the American Time Use Survey and Leave and Job Flexibilities Module (2017-2018) and a nationally representative sample of parents working in wage or salaried jobs (n = 1,595 mothers, n = 1,509 fathers). Our results reveal that access to flextime is associated with more time in active caregiving for mothers but not fathers. Flexplace is not associated with more active caregiving time for mothers or fathers but is associated with both parents’ greater time in passive caregiving. The findings highlight the importance of expanding working parents’ access to certain flexible work options, along with the limits of doing so. The results of our investigation are presented in the linked manuscript. This manuscript is currently under review for publication.


Project Title: Gender Disparities in Increased Parenting Time during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Project Summary: This project provides time-use data that documents the unequal increase in mothers’ versus fathers’ parenting time during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data come from the 2019 and 2020 panels of the American Time Use Surveys. We provide the following key findings. First, the gender gap in total parenting time narrowed by 18%. Meanwhile, the gender disparity in time in educational activities increased by 113% and was not explained by changes in mothers’ labor force participation. Mothers also took on 20% more time in secondary caregiving compared to fathers. Estimates of working parents indicated that the amount of time mothers coupled paid work with caregiving increased by 346% compared to fathers. These results reveal how fathers marginally increased their caregiving responsibilities compared to mothers, but not in activities that parents tend to rate as more stressful or intensive, such as supervising children’s schooling and multitasking at work. These results appear in the linked manuscript. This manuscript is forthcoming at Demography.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.