Ha Nguyen

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Title: Rain, rain, go away: Weather and children’s time allocation

Abstract: Time is an extremely valuable resource, especially for children, as their time allocation among different activities has been found to affect their development outcomes. This study contributes to a broader understanding of children’s time allocation and provides insights into the effects of an unexplored channel through which poor weather conditions may influence children’s development by presenting the first estimates of the causal effects of weather on children’s time allocation. We use individual-level data from over 45,000 time-use diaries of children from two nationally representative cohorts of Australian children whose time-use diaries were surveyed biannually over 10 years to measure the time allocation of children and exploit exogenous variations in local weather conditions observed during the random diary dates. Our results reveal that unfavourable weather conditions, as represented by cold or hot temperature or rain, cause children to switch activities from outdoors to indoors, mainly by reducing the time allocated to active or travel and increasing the time allocated to media. Furthermore, we find that the effects of bad weather are more pronounced on weekends and heterogeneous across different sub-groups. Our results also provide some evidence of adaptation, as temperature tends to have greater impact not only in winter months but also in colder regions. Our findings are robust to a wide range of sensitivity checks, including controlling for individual fixed effects and using alternative model specifications.

Presenter: Ha Nguyen, Curtin University

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