Scheduling Inequality: Variations in Dual-Earner Couple Work-Schedule Coordination

Peter Hepburn , University of California, Berkeley

This paper analyzes work scheduling and schedule coordination of American, dual-earner couples with children at two points in time (1990 and 2012). The literature on schedule coordination presumes that couples coordinate working schedules so as to maximize joint leisure. Research on childcare choice, however, highlights the experience of a subset of parents who work non-overlapping schedules so as to minimize reliance on non-parental care. This suggests two contrasting scheduling logics with differing expressions of "coordination." Results yield null findings of schedule coordination when evaluated across the full population of dual-worker parents, but significant evidence of coordination—in opposite directions—when schedule type is taken into account. While there is considerable socioeconomic variations in couples' observed schedule type, socioeconomic variations in schedule coordination are limited contingent on schedule. Contrary to expectations, no evidence is found for declining schedule coordination over time.

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 Presented in Session 159. Family-Level Perspectives on Work and Care