Domestic Policy

Kevin Lewis

May 05, 2010

Attitudes about Affirmative Action for Women: The Role of Children in Shaping Parents' Interests

Anastasia Prokos, Chardie Baird & Jennifer Reid Keene
Sex Roles, March 2010, Pages 347-360

This paper uses pooled cross-sectional data from the 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006 General Social Surveys (GSS), a nationally representative sample of the U.S. adult population, to assess how employed parents' attitudes about affirmative action for women are influenced by their children's gender. The analytic sample includes 1,695 employed respondents. Findings based on logistic regression indicate that having daughters (and no sons) magnifies employed mothers' support for affirmative action for women and minimizes employed fathers' support. Conversely, having sons (and no daughters) does not suppress mothers' support for affirmative action for women, nor does it differentiate men's attitudes about affirmative action. We speculate about how these patterns in parents' attitudes relate to self interest and group interest (i.e., their children's future work experiences).


Marriage and the Military: Evidence That Those Who Serve Marry Earlier and Divorce Earlier

Paul Hogan & Rita Furst Seifert
Armed Forces & Society, April 2010, Pages 420-438

Under the compensation system of the U.S. Armed Forces, members who are married or have dependents receive higher rates of pay and greater benefits than those who are single with no dependents. This article examines the hypothesis that these compensation policies induce earlier marriage by active-duty military members compared to otherwise similar civilians who have not served on active duty. Using a logistic regression model on American Community Survey data, the authors estimate the effect of active-duty military service on the probability of being married for twenty-three- to twenty-five-year-olds. Controlling for other factors affecting marriage rates, the authors find that the odds of being married were about three times greater for those with military service compared to similar civilians who have not served. For persons ever married, the probability of divorce is significantly greater for those who have served two or more years on active duty.


The effect of children on adult demands for health-risk reductions

Trudy Ann Cameron, J.R. DeShazo & Erica Johnson
Journal of Health Economics, May 2010, Pages 364-376

We examine patterns in adults' willingness to pay for health-risk reductions. We allow both their marginal utilities of income and their marginal disutilities from health risks to vary systematically with the structures of their households. Demand by adults for programs which reduce their own health risks is found to be influenced by (1) their parenthood status, (2) the numbers of children in different age brackets currently in their households, (3) the ages of the adults themselves, (4) the latency period before they would fall ill, and (5) whether there will still be children in the household at that time. For younger adults, willingness to pay by parents is greater than for non-parents, and increases with each additional young child. For middle-aged adults, willingness to pay for corresponding risk reductions falls when teenagers are present and falls further with each additional teenager in the household.


Insult to Injury: Disability, Earnings, and Divorce

Perry Singleton
Syracuse University Working Paper, November 2009

This study examines the effect of work-limiting disabilities on the likelihood of divorce. Theoretically, the effect depends on the disability hazard at the time of onset and the impact of disability on marital value. The theory therefore implies, based on a set of empirically supported premises, that the effect of disability on divorce should decrease with age, increase with education, and increase with disability severity. Data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation support these predictions. The effect of a work-preventing disability is greatest among young, educated males, increasing the divorce hazard by 13.3 percentage points.


What's Age Got to Do With It? A Case Study Analysis of Power and Gender in Husband-Older Marriages

Karen Pyke & Michele Adams
Journal of Family Issues, June 2010, Pages 748-777

This qualitative study explores assumptions of family scholars who draw on age heterogamy and marriage-gradient approaches to suggest that marriages between older husbands and much younger wives are likely to be male-dominated, with traditional gender arrangements. Drawing on resource theory and marital power perspectives, we analyze the life histories, psychosocial understandings, and day-to-day arrangements of both partners in eight husband-older marriages to uncover their unique features. We present four cases with distinct dynamics to suggest that future research needs to consider that (a) husbands' older age does not automatically translate into male dominance and rigid gender arrangements; (b) when combined with additional forms of heterogamy, such as racial status, social class, occupational prestige, and education, age heterogamy is likely to be associated with male dominance; (c) men can experience a shift toward more marital sharing and androgyny upon remarriage to a younger woman; and (d) gender arrangements in husband-older marriages can undergo major shifts across the life course.


Single Parenting and Child Behavior Problems in Kindergarten

Aurora Jackson, Kathleen Preston & Todd Franke
Race and Social Problems, March 2010, Pages 50-58

Two waves of data from a sample of 89 poor and near-poor single black mothers and their preschool children were used to study the influences of parenting stress, physical discipline practices, and nonresident fathers' relations with their children on behavior problems in kindergarten. The results indicate that higher levels of parent stress, more frequent spanking, and less frequent father-child contact at time 1 were associated with increased teacher-reported behavior problems at time 2. In addition, more frequent contact between nonresident biological fathers and their children moderated the negative effect of harsh discipline by mothers on subsequent child behavior problems. Specifically, when contact with the father was low, maternal spanking resulted in elevated levels of behavior problems; with average contact, this negative effect of spanking was muted; and with high contact, spanking was not associated with increased behavior problems in kindergarten. The implications of these findings for future research and policy are discussed.


Reinforcing Separate Spheres: The Effect of Spousal Overwork on Men's and Women's Employment in Dual-Earner Households

Youngjoo Cha
American Sociological Review, April 2010, Pages 303-329

This study examines whether long work hours exacerbate gender inequality. As working long hours becomes increasingly common, a normative conception of gender that prioritizes men's careers over women's careers in dual-earner households may pressure women to quit their jobs. I apply multilevel models to longitudinal data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to show that having a husband who works long hours significantly increases a woman's likelihood of quitting, whereas having a wife who works long hours does not appear to increase a man's likelihood of quitting. This gendered pattern is more prominent among workers in professional and managerial occupations, where the norm of overwork and the culture of intensive parenting are strong. Furthermore, the effect is stronger among workers who have children. Findings suggest that overwork can reintroduce the separate spheres arrangement, consisting of breadwinning men and homemaking women, to many formerly dual-earner households.


Parent Discipline Practices in an International Sample: Associations With Child Behaviors and Moderation by Perceived Normativeness

Elizabeth Gershoff, Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, Jennifer Lansford, Lei Chang, Arnaldo Zelli, Kirby Deater-Deckard & Kenneth Dodge
Child Development, March/April 2010, Pages 487-502

This study examined the associations of 11 discipline techniques with children's aggressive and anxious behaviors in an international sample of mothers and children from 6 countries and determined whether any significant associations were moderated by mothers' and children's perceived normativeness of the techniques. Participants included 292 mothers and their 8- to 12-year-old children living in China, India, Italy, Kenya, Philippines, and Thailand. Parallel multilevel and fixed effects models revealed that mothers' use of corporal punishment, expressing disappointment, and yelling were significantly related to more child aggression symptoms, whereas giving a time-out, using corporal punishment, expressing disappointment, and shaming were significantly related to greater child anxiety symptoms. Some moderation of these associations was found for children's perceptions of normativeness.


How Appreciated Do Wives Feel for the Housework They Do?

Yun-Suk Lee & Linda Waite
Social Science Quarterly, June 2010, Pages 476-492

Objective: Sense of appreciation for the work one does contributes to subjective well-being and relational satisfaction, but few studies examine the factors that may affect levels of recognition for household labor. We formulate and test hypotheses based on the effort-reward imbalance model in occupational health research to investigate the extent to which married women feel that the work they do around the house is appreciated.

Methods: We use data from a sample of married women from the 1987-1988 National Survey of Families and Households to test these hypotheses.

Results: We find that wives' absolute time spent in housework and the share they do are both important in shaping their perception of appreciation for housework. Women who hold relatively liberal attitudes toward gender roles and those who have more options outside marriage are less likely to feel appreciated. Finally, wives who often share time with their husbands tend to report higher levels of gratitude for their work at home than those who do so rarely.

Conclusions: This study suggests that the literature on psychological and relational outcomes of household labor should go beyond amounts and divisions of housework to include beliefs about roles, couples' dependency, and their relationship.


The Reproduction of Inequalities Through Emotional Capital: The Case of Socializing Low-Income Black Girls

Carissa Froyum
Qualitative Sociology, March 2010, Pages 37-54

The concept of emotional capital suggests that adults transfer emotion management skills to children in ways that are consequential for the social reproduction of inequalities. Using ethnographic data from a popular after-school program, this study analyzes the emotional capital transmitted to low-income black girls by staff. They passed on four aspects of emotional capital: stifling attitude, being emotionally accountable for peers, sympathizing with adult authority figures, and emotional distancing from cultural "dysfunction." Staff intended to teach girls to manage their emotions as a way to counteract racism, but the socialization largely promoted emotional deference, thereby reinforcing racialized, classed, and gendered ideologies.


Risk and Protective Factors for Psychological Adjustment Among Low-Income, African American Children

Megan Gabalda, Martie Thompson & Nadine Kaslow
Journal of Family Issues, April 2010, Pages 423-444

This investigation identifies unique risk and protective factors for internalizing and externalizing problems among 8- to 12-year-old, low-income, African American children and tests cumulative risk and protective models. A total of 152 mother-child dyads complete questionnaires. Receipt of food stamps, mother's distress, and child maltreatment increase children's risk for internalizing and externalizing problems and family functioning (adaptability, cohesion), and after-school program participation (externalizing only) are protective against internalizing and externalizing problems. A cumulative risk model reveals that compared with youth with no risk factors, having one risk factor confers three- and fivefold risk for internalizing and externalizing symptoms, respectively. Having two or three risk factors confers 12 and 19 times greater risk for internalizing and externalizing symptoms, respectively. Compared with no protective factors, youth with two protective factors are 4 and 6 times less likely to display internalizing and externalizing problems, respectively. Implications for community-based preventive intervention efforts and future research are discussed.


Extreme Financial Strain: Emergent Chores, Gender Inequality and Emotional Distress

Deborah Thorne
Journal of Family and Economic Issues, June 2010, Pages 185-197

This qualitative study examines the gendered division, and emotional effects, of household financial labor among severely indebted couples prior to filing consumer bankruptcy. Interviews with 19 newly bankrupt couples in Spokane, Washington, illustrate how, before bankruptcy, the peripheral and mundane chore of paying bills transforms into multiple arduous core chores: micro-management of money, debt collector negotiations, and researching and deciding to file bankruptcy. These newly emergent low-control chores are gendered and the wives' responsibility. Gendering occurs for two reasons. Some women retain responsibility for emergent chores because husbands exhibit financial irresponsibility. Others request their husbands' assistance, but the men refuse because the financial chores are upsetting or bothersome. Many wives who manage the newly emergent financial chores experience negative emotional effects.


Will the possibility of divorce discourage marriage-specific investment?

Xuemei Liu
Journal of Socio-Economics, April 2010, Pages 251-257

Becker et al. (1977) argue that the possibility of divorce discourages the accumulation of marriage-specific capital. Their argument has been confirmed by empirical studies that assume labor supply and marriage-specific investment are negatively related. We argue that since it is possible for individuals to increase marriage-specific investment without changing labor supply simultaneously, the conventional approach using the change in labor supply to infer to the change in marriage-specific investment may lead to a biased conclusion. This paper incorporates dynamic and stochastic optimal control approach into a material-spiritual goods framework. The model disentangles marriage-specific investment form other marital effort, and demonstrates that only part of effort devoted to marriage is marriage-specific investment and only the individuals who have spiritual and emotional needs make marriage-specific investment. Marriage-specific investment is highest in marriages where individuals behave altruistically, lower in marriages where individuals behave selfishly, and zero in marriages where spiritual goods are not valued. The model also implies a result that is contrary to conventional wisdom: the possibility of divorce does not always discourage, and may even encourage, marriage-specific investment. Since the impact of the divorce risk on marriage-specific investment depends on three factors: time preference, the level of the risk and the correlation between the divorce risk and marriage-specific capital, it could be optimal for an individual to invest more under uncertainty than in the corresponding risk-free world if he or she can well understand and predict his or her partner's spiritual needs. The key factor in the decision process is the confidence in predicting the partner's spiritual needs.


Women as Agents of Change: Female Income and Mobility in Developing Countries

Nancy Luke & Kaivan Munshi
Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Economic globalization will give many women in developing countries access to steady and relatively remunerative employment for the first time, potentially shifting bargaining power within their households and changing the choices that are made for their children. This paper exploits a unique setting - a group of tea plantations in South India where women are employed in permanent wage labor and where incomes do not vary by caste - to anticipate the impact of globalization on mobility across social groups in the future. The main result of the paper is that a relative increase in female income weakens the family's ties to the ancestral community and the traditional economy, but these mobility enhancing effects are obtained for certain historically disadvantaged castes alone. Although the paper provides a context-specific explanation for why the women from these castes emerge as agents of change, the first general implication of the analysis is that the incentive and the ability of women to use their earnings to inuence household decisions depends importantly on their social background. The second implication is that historically disadvantaged groups may, in fact, be especially responsive to new opportunities precisely because they have fewer ties to the traditional economy to hold them back.

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