Who Takes the Child to the Doctor? Mom, Pretty Much All of the Time

Moira Daly*, Fane Groes

*Corresponding author for this work

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We document the degree to which Danish mothers are responsible for handling their children’s medical services. Using unique administration data on detailed medical services that were performed on all Danish children from 1992 to 1995, we find that, on average, more than 90% of all children’s medical services were handled by their mothers rather than their fathers. To our knowledge, this is the first study to use medical register data to quantify domestic time use. As these services are mainly performed during work hours, this finding provides one mechanism by which absenteeism increases as a consequence of motherhood. Furthermore, the economic variables that should affect a household’s assignment of a task like taking the child to the doctor are shown to explain very little, suggesting that other factors, such as societal norms, are at play.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Economics Letters
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)1267-1276
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Child medical care
  • Child care
  • Household time allocation
  • Family gap

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