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Gendered Division of Childcare Labor Talk to #JMM13

Presentation on using game theory to model gendered division of labor in parenting. Trying to distill long paper into something entertaining and useful! Any suggestions welcome in comments or twitter (@faroop).

Angela Vierling-Claassen

on 18 March 2015

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Transcript of Gendered Division of Childcare Labor Talk to #JMM13

Parameters: hours care needed, importance
Father: i hours, Mother: j hours
If i+j≥3, then both parents meeting goal, utility from goal is
If i+j≤3, each parent is meeting percent of goal
Multiplying this percent by gives utility from Sufficient Care goal Angela Vierling-Claassen Gendered Division of Labor in Parenting avierlin@lesley.edu
LiberationMath.org Division of Parental Child Care Child Care as 2-Player Game Three hours of child care needed by parents
Strategies: provide 0 to 3 hours of care, in half-hour increments
Parameters associated with parent goals determine payoff functions Utility from "Sufficient Care" Goal Utility Function Example Parent Goals Other utility sub-functions computed similarly, summed to give overall utility for each parent Parents often end up doing excess work Equal Sharing More Important Different Estimates of Care Needed Mother estimates 4 hours
Father estimates 2 hours
Not surprisingly, mother ends up doing more work
If father increases importance of equal sharing above free time then.... Cycling produced by mother's attraction to line of sufficient care and father's attraction to line of sharing Started this work jointly with my spouse after we had 1st child In households with young children and two working parents, women do more of the child care
Couples who want equal division of labor before parenting often do not achieve it
Why do some egalitarian-minded parents still end up with a gendered division of child care? Parameters control relative importance, criteria for meeting Most Imp Least Imp Sufficient Care: Cover the care needed
Parameters: Importance, hours needed
Quality Time: Time to bond with child
Parameters: Importance, hours needed
Personal Time: Minimize child care hours
Parameter: Importance
Equal Sharing: Split duties ideally 50/50
Parameter: Importance Parameters Identical for both parents Symmetric Game Final outcome depends on starting position and who goes first Final Outcomes Parenting among dual-earner couples often takes place in region II
In this region, both parents face barriers to change In region I, there is a stark deficit and whoever moves first will be stuck making up the deficit
In region III, there is too much care being provided and whoever moves first will benefit from that excess
In regions II and IV, there is approximately the right amount of care, and neither parent can impact the outcome! Shaded area = strategies that result in excess care
Movement from one pair of strategy choices is shown Father's strategies on x-axis Mother's strategies on y-axis Lessons Equal sharing hard to achieve Use "tipping" to balance tendency for women to start by doing more infant care Choice may be illusory Stable Final Outcome Game Play Game played repeatedly by parents
Parents alternate changes in strategy
Each parent in turn seeking to optimize payoff within a column or row. Exploring Other Goals What happens if we increase importance of equal sharing goal? What if parents make different estimates of amount of care needed? Stable Cycles of Care Finished Created model, Had enough work for 2nd paper, wanted to reach sociologists, gender theorists, Had already done a large sociology literature review in gendered division of labor for the paper, how hard could it be to publish in sociology? Finally figured out I didn't know what I was doing, and asked for help from a sociologist! Reviewers were positive, and had excellent suggestions,
so I ... Paper will appear later this year in Rationality and Society What's a Mathematician Like Me Doing in a Sociology Journal? submitted blindly to several journals, turned down without
a reading Revised and Revised and She suggested a journal, possible reviewers, and gave me some comments on paper... I revised again wrote paper, submitted to College Math Journal, revised and cut out most of paper, published introductory example on splitting housework & people interested in family dynamics Future Research Possibilities Connect model with time diaries & goal surveys to refine and test Model families headed by two women or two men Alter model to consider outsourcing and/or multitasking Allow negotiated moves (cooperative game theory) Each starting position has 1-2 final outcomes Nash equilibria shaded
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