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Child Grants and Time Use of Single Parents in South Africa 

 

 

This paper is the first to evaluate the gendered effects of child grants on patterns of time allocation across SNA (System of National Accounts) production work, household maintenance, care work, leisure, self-care, and other non-work activities. SNA production work includes paid market work, subsistence and informal work, job search, and other production activities which standard labor market indicators generally fail to capture. I use data from the 2010 South Africa Time Use Survey on grant-eligible single parents aged 20-54 years to estimate a system of equations describing the time allocation of single parents. I address the endogeneity of the key grant receipt parameter using a probit model with an originally-constructed instrumental variable, regional median travel time to the welfare office. I find that single fathers living in grant recipient households reduce SNA production work by 22.5 percent (61.5 minutes per day) and single mothers by 61.5 percent (116.3 minutes per day). Single parents primarily redistribute their reduced SNA production work time to household maintenance and care work. Single fathers increase their time in household maintenance and care work by 72.2 percent (81.8 minutes per day) and single mothers by 62.8 percent (142.1minutes per day), respectively. This rise in household maintenance and care work leads to an overall increase in total work time, especially of single mothers. Single mothers living in grant recipient households increase their total work time by 5.4 percent, which is an increase of 25.8 minutes per day. A series of robustness checks confirms the results.

 

JEL Classification: H81, J29, J22, J13

 

Keywords: time use, child grants, single parents, unpaid work, gender, South Africa