Dr. Wikle researches family topics including family interactions, family employment, and family leisure. She uses a a range of quantitative and computational evaluation techniques and practices.  Her research includes theoretical and empirical research evaluating time use responses to larger contextual forces such as home environment, neighborhoods, policy, technology access, and gender.  She uses an interdisciplinary approach to find answers to important questions.​


"An Analysis of Discussion Forum Participation and Student Learning Outcomes" (with Richard West), ​International Journal on E-learning, forthcoming.

This study investigates associations between participation in online discussion forums by online students and learning performance on discussion forum topics. Although discussion forums did not aid learning for an easy concept, discussion forums associated with better learning outcomes for students participating in a moderately difficult topic.  For a high difficulty topic, participation alone in a discussion forum did not correlate with improved learning outcomes; however, high quality involvement in a discussion forum of a highly difficult concept was associated with improved learning outcomes.

"Adolescent Caretaking of Younger Siblings" (with Alexander Jensen and Alexander Hoagland). Social Science Research, 2018. 

This study examines the prevalence of adolescents providing care for younger siblings and the quality of care associated with a broad spectrum of contextual, individual, microsystem, and macrosystem factors. Boys more often cared for younger brothers, and girls more often cared for younger sisters. In addition, boys more often played with younger siblings while girls more often provided physical care and talked with younger siblings, mirroring gendered patterns seen in parents.

"Patterns in Housework and Childcare among Girls and Boys." Journal of Research on Women and Gender, 2014. ​

This study describes the evolution of time-use patterns in the United States for girls relative to boys during the childhood and adolescent years. The study found that girls participated in home duties significantly more often than boys by age eight, and that the time spent in home duties gradually increased through adolescence.

Papers in Review​

"Alone but not Lonely: Companionship Patterns and Well-Being Among Adolescents With and Without Siblings" (with Elizabeth Ackert and Alexander C. Jensen).

​This study contributes to long-standing debates over only children versus children with siblings by comparing companionship patterns and well-being among adolescents with and without siblings in the home. This study shows that only children spend more time alone than children with siblings, but also more one-on-one time with parents.  Additionally, only children are less stressed when they spend time alone, suggesting that relative to children with siblings, only children may be more well-adapted to spending time alone.

"Adolescent Exposure to Community and Family in Neighborhoods with High Intergenerational Mobility."

Little is known about the daily mechanisms transmitting neighborhood effects to children. I compare daily time use in areas with high and low economic mobility to evaluate if neighborhoods primarily impact parenting practices or directly impact children.  I find differences in parenting practices—parents living in mobile areas spend more time at home, more time with household members, and more time in high quality care of children—suggesting that social norms governing parenting practices may contribute to mobility.



​    Published and Working Papers


​     ​Econ 381​

     Econ 388

Other Links

​​     Jocelyn S. Wikle​

     Faculty Homepage



"Family Leisure Participation and Parent Well-being: The Role of Family Structure" (with Camilla Hodge).

This study evaluates differences in family leisure participation and parent well-being during family leisure among nuclear families, families with a stepparent, and single-parent families.  Family leisure contributes to positive family health and plays an important role in promoting healthy youth development. Using a large nationally representative data sample of parents (N = 69,199), this study shows that single-parents experience substantial leisure deficits, especially in home-based leisure. Single-parents enjoyed at-home leisure, suggesting that structural constraints curb family leisure in single-parent homes. The findings have important implications for policy, considering that most family leisure programs facilitate away-from-home leisure which is less restorative to single-parents. 

"Family Structure and Adolescent Well-Being During Family Interactions" (with Alexander Hoagland).

How adolescents feel during family interactions has implications for adolescent relationships. Compensation theory suggests that children in nonnuclear homes with weaker parent relationships compensate by forming other strong relationships. Conversely, a congruence hypothesis suggests strong parent-child relationships, more easily formed in nuclear homes, spill into a child's ability to have other positive relatinoships. using a large, nationally representative data sample of adolescents from the American Time Use Survey (N=1,735), we find that adolescents in nuclear homes benefitted from interactions with parents while adolescents in nonnuclear homes benefitted from interacitons with nonresident parents, older siblings, or extended family members, giving support to compensation models of fmaily relationships.

"Every Kid (and Family) In a Park? Free National Parks Admission For Children and Spillovers in Family Recreation" (with Camilla Hodge).

Family recreation contributes to positive family health and well-being, and it plays an important role in promoting healthy youth development. Using large nationally representative data from the American Time Use Survey, we study recreation patterns of families following the implementation of the "Every Kid in a Park" initiative of the U.S. National Parks Service. We analyze whether effects are concentrated among specific socio-demographic groups rather than spread across socio-demographic groups. 

​"In Good Company: Adolescent Well-Being and Shared Time with Neighbors, Mentors, and Friends" (with Alexander Hoagland).

Community interactions play a prominent role in long-run adolescent development; however, little is known about the immediate impact of these interactions. This study identifies the impact of adolescents sharing experiences with friends, mentors, and community adults on immediate adolescent well-being. Relying on nationally representative data from the American Time Use Survey, we find that exposure to neighbors and role models in the community improves subjective well-being for some but not all adolescents, suggesting a need for care when designing policies aimed at adolescent involvement in communities.​​

Working Papers

"The 1990s Head Start Expansion and the Employment Decisions of Single Mothers" (with Riley Wilson).

In the 1990s, Head Start experienced a tripling in funding and enrollment nearly doubled. In this paper, we exploit variation over time and across metropolitan areas in Head Start funding to estimate the impact of Head Start funding on the labor supply of single mothers. The increased availability of Head Start can explain a non-negligible share of the rise in single mother employment in the 1990s.

"Gender Based Taxation and the Lifecycle Allocation of Labor, Leisure and Household Chores."

Taxing entities often treat a family as a single tax unit, neglecting the inefficiency that develops from families choosing how much each spouse works in the market and at home. This paper examines couples' market work time choices when offered different first and second earner tax rates.  Assuming wives are second earners, I simulate cases which generate observable gender differences through different channels, and I derive corresponding optimal gender-based tax rates.

"Cinderella and Cinderelliot: Gender differences in adolescent and young adult housework."

This study explores the development of gender differences in time use in housework and childcare during adolescence and young adulthood. I find gender divergence in home duties is already in process by age 15, with the difference sharply stratifying at the onset of young adulthood. Choices during young adulthood about family status, education, and employment have the strongest associations with the time spent in home duties for young adults.

Works in Progress

"Changes in Parental Inputs in Child Development Following Smartphone Adoption."

The increased use of technology devices such as smartphones by parents may be changing parent patterns of contact with their children and others, parent inputs in child development, and the overall environment in which children grow.  I use time-use data and geographic variation in the introduction of 3G across the United States to analyze changes in parent practices following exogenous changes in parental access to smartphone technology.    


"Smartphone Adoption and Disruption to Adolescent Schedules."

Technology use by adolescents may be changing patterns of contact with family members and smartphone use may be crowding out developmentally appropriate activities such as leisure and educational investments. I use time-use data and geographic variation in the introduction of 3G across the United States to analyze changes in adolescents’ schedules and patterns of contact with others following the introduction of 3G in a geographic market.

"Couples’ Midlife Employment and Domestic Division of Home Duties Later in Life" (with Jeremy Yorgason).

A couple’s choices about midlife market work can have long-term consequences as market work choices influence family processes and well-being later in life.  Using nationally representative data from the Health and Retirement Survey, we follow 1,033 individuals in intact marriages to describe connections between market work choices during midlife and later life outcomes. 

"Social Exposure, Isolation, and Time Investments in Children Among Breadwinner and At-home Fathers and Mothers" (with Erin K. Holmes and Clare Thomas).

This study evaluates social exposure and isolation of breadwinner and at-home fathers and mothers. Considering reports that at-home parents sometimes feel socially isolated, we compare their socializing patterns to working parents.  Additionally, we analyze parent well-being when with other adults to determine if isolation stems from a lack of interaction or is more consistent with experiencing difficulty fitting in with other adults. 


"Rescue or Miscue: Mobile Phone Alerts and Distracted Driving" (with Jaren Pope).

Our study uses a natural experiment to estimate the causal effects of receiving a text message while driving on traffic safety by examining crash frequencies when Wireless Emergency Alerts are dispatched to all cell phones within a geographic region. Using minute level data on crashes reported in Texas between 2012 and 2016, we find no strong evidence that alerts immediately increase car accidents.  This finding suggests receiving a text message while driving does not in and of itself cause accidents.​​