Under Pressure? Assessing the Roles of Skills and Other Personal Resources for Work-Life Strains

33 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2019

See all articles by Niels-Hugo Blunch

Niels-Hugo Blunch

Washington and Lee University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

David C. Ribar

University of Melbourne

Mark Western

University of Queensland - Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR)

Date Written: December 28, 2018

Abstract

Many working parents struggle to balance the demands of their jobs and family roles. Although we might expect that additional resources would ease work-family constraints, theory and evidence regarding resources have been equivocal. This study uses data on working mothers and fathers as well as their cohabiting partners/spouses—from the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey to investigate how personal resources in the form of skills, cognitive abilities, and personality traits affect work-life strains. It considers these along with standard measures of economic, social, and personal resources, and estimates seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) models of work-life strains for employed mothers and fathers that account for correlations of the couple’s unobserved characteristics. The SUR estimates indicate that computer skills reduce work life strains for mothers, that math skills reduce strains for fathers, and that the personality traits of extraversion, conscientiousness, and emotional stability reduce strains for both parents. However, the estimates also indicate that better performance on a symbol look-up task, which tests attention, visual scanning acuity, and motor speed, increases fathers’ work-life strains.

Keywords: work-family strains and gains, cognitive abilities, skills, household resources, Australia, HILDA survey

JEL Classification: I1, I31, J24, J81

Suggested Citation

Blunch, Niels-Hugo and Ribar, David C. and Western, Mark, Under Pressure? Assessing the Roles of Skills and Other Personal Resources for Work-Life Strains (December 28, 2018). Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 15/18, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3333593 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3333593

Niels-Hugo Blunch

Washington and Lee University ( email )

Department of Economics
Lexington, VA 24450
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.wlu.edu/williams-school/economics/faculty-and-staff/profile?ID=x258

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

David C. Ribar (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne ( email )

+61 3 8344 2794 (Phone)

Mark Western

University of Queensland - Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) ( email )

North 3 (Bldg 39A)
St Lucia, Queensland QLD 4072
Australia

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
9
Abstract Views
194
PlumX Metrics