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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Children’s Time Use, Labor Division, and Schooling In Indonesia


Using both time diary and qualitative data collected from Indonesia, this paper examines the association between gender and sibship composition on children’s time use across four activities—schooling, market labor, non-market oriented labor (i.e. housework/childcare activities), and leisure. The quantitative results show that failing to consider children’s contributions to domestic labor underestimates children’s labor responsibilities, especially for girls. Once domestic labor is considered, girls spend more time working and less time enjoying leisure. Girls’ time is also more sensitive to sibship composition. Older female siblings reduce their sisters’ labor responsibilities while younger brothers increase work for their sisters. However, increases in workload do not parallel decreases in schooling but parallel decreases in leisure. Qualitative data collected from focus groups show that parents are reluctant to trade-off children’s schooling for labor and that parents desire equal amounts of education for their sons and daughters. Taken together, the results provide descriptive evidence that girls’ leisure time is traded off for work rather than schooling for work.

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