Discussion Papers

No.764 Gender Disparities in the Effects of Mothers’ Labor Force Participation on Children’s Time Allocation to Pro-Education Activities in Developing Countries: Evidence from the Rural Philippines

by Masayoshi Okabe

January 2020


This study investigates children’s time-allocation patterns to focus on a unique gender disparity in education that emerges in developing countries. Using primary data collected in a rural area of the Philippines, I identify first the “pro-educational” time allocation patterns of children contributing to their educational performance, with a specific focus on the effect of mothers’ labor force participation (MLFP). While statistics show that male children spend less time in pro-educational activities than their female counterparts, an econometric analysis reveals that MLFP accounts for this gender-dependent time-allocation pattern. Results also imply that female children are more likely to spend more time in pro-educational activities with working mothers as their role models. This study identifies MLFP as a maternal “dual burden” for women living in poverty, affecting and affected by family dynamics with their husbands and other family members, revisiting the conventional discourse on gender equality in the Philippines.

Keywords: Mothers' labor force participation, Child time use, Gender heterogeneity, Boys' underperformance, Poverty-coped family dynamics

JEL classification: D13, D63, D91, I24, I25, J1, J2, O15

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