Should Parents Work Away from or Close to Home? The Effect of Parental Absence on Children’s Time Use in Vietnam

Nguyen Viet Cuong and Vu Hoang Linh

Journal of Human Development and Capabilities , Vol. 27, No. 4, 547–565.


Working away from home might bring higher earnings than working near home. However, the absence of parents due to work can have unexpected effects on children. This paper examines the effects of the absence of parents due to work on time allocation of children aged 5–8 years old in Vietnam. The paper relies on fixed-effects regression and panel data from the Young Lives surveys in 2007 and 2009. It finds that children with parental absence tend to spend less time on home study but more time on leisure and playing. The effect of mother absence on home study of children is higher than the effect of father absence. Moreover, children with mother absence are more likely to do housework than other children. This finding highlights the important role of mothers in taking care of children in terms of both education and housework.

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