Dr. Wikle researches family economic decision-making and time use using a range of empirical and computational evaluation techniques and practices. Her research includes theoretical and computational work on family income tax design, empirical research on family decision-making, and research evaluating responses to policy and technology access in a variety of contexts. She uses an interdisciplinary approach find answers to important questions.
"Adolescent Caretaking of Younger Siblings" (with Alexander Jensen and Alexander Hoagland). Social Science Research, 2018.
Sibling interactions play important roles in socialization; however, little is known about sibling caretaking in contemporary families. This study examined the prevalence of adolescents providing care for younger siblings and the quality of care as associated with a broad spectrum of contextual, individual, microsystem and macrosystem factors. Relying on nationally representative time diary data from the American Time Use Survey, we found that factors at all levels (contextual, individual, microsystem and macrosystem) associated with sibling caretaking. The caretaker’s sex and the ages and sexes of younger siblings correlated with the incidence and quality of sibling care. 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.
"An Analysis of Discussion Forum Participation and Student Learning Outcomes" (with Richard West), under review.
This study investigates associations between participation in online discussion forums by online students and learning performance on discussion forum topics. This study tracks university student participation in online discussion forums across topics of varying difficulty. For each topic of discussion, we evaluated associations between student participation in a discussion forum and student mastery of a discussion forum topic. Further, we evaluated the quality of responses and student mastery of discussion forum topics. In some instances, discussion forum participation associated with better learning outcomes, while in other instances no associations were found. 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.
"In Good Company: Adolescent Well-Being and Shared Time with Family, Friends, and Neighbors" (with Alexander Hoagland).
Family, social, and 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 parents, siblings, extended family members, friends, and community adults on immediate adolescent well-being. Relying on nationally representative data from the American Time Use Survey, we find that adolescents in single-parent homes are particularly benefited from family activities, family meals, and in spending time with family role models like older siblings and older relatives, and specific impacts differ by race, ethnicity and sex. In addition, 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.
"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. The Family Activity Model posits families seek out novel activity environments for recreation. National parks are novel environments, and create opportunities for engaging in family recreation activities such as hiking. Therefore, we evaluate the reach of the "Every Kid in a Park" initiative of the U.S. National Parks Service which offers free admission to children in fourth grade and their guests. Using large nationally representative data from the American Time Use Survey, we conduct difference-in-differences analysis to determine whether hiking patterns by family members of fourth graders change following the policy implementation. We find that hiking patterns increase overall for family members of fourth graders following the implementation of the initiative. Moreover, we find no evidence of effects being concentrated among specific socio-economic groups.
"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 the implications of different first and second earner tax rates for labor market and time-use choices within a couple. I develop a flexible representative agent lifecycle framework with market and home productivity technologies, and I analyze optimal taxation. Assuming women are second earners, I use this general framework to analyze and simulate cases which generate observable gender differences through different channels, and I derive corresponding optimal gender-based tax rates. The key finding is that regardless of the reason a second earner specializes in domestic work, the optimal tax places a relatively lower tax rate on the second earner and reduces the excess burden by about two percent.
"Reducing labor distortions using an age-based income tax."
Income tax systems consider a person's income when assigning tax rates. Income is a result of skill levels and resulting productivity, and those skills can change with age. Some low-income individuals eventually build more skill as they age and move to higher income levels while some low-income individuals have stable skill levels. I model the inefficiency of income tax due to pooling old individuals and young individuals who differ in their skill distribution and use of time. Because age is correlated with ability and time investments in education, allowing tax rules to vary with age shrinks labor distortions.
"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. Tracing the stratification of gender differences in time use in household chores through young adulthood provides insight into the life cycle development process underlying gender differences in housework. I focus on individuals ages 15–30 and find that gender divergence in home duties is already in process by age 15, with the difference sharply stratifying at the onset of young adulthood. Further, I find that parent and family characteristics play a minimal role in altering observed gender differences among adolescents. Increasing gender differences in home duties through young adulthood are primarily driven by increases in the duration of time spent in home duties rather than changing participation rates. Choices during young adulthood about family status, education, and employment have the strongest associations with the time spent in home duties for young adults.
Selected Works in Progress
"Rescue or Miscue: Mobile Phone Alerts and Distracted Driving" (with Jaren Pope).
Economic agents prefer more information when it is costless to obtain, especially when the information increases public safety; however, information delivered via text message may be costly if the timing of the delivery increases risk of harm, such as when an individual is driving. 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.
"Community and family time and intergenerational mobility"
"Mid-life employment and domestic division of labor among couples"
"Smartphones vs Smart Children? Changes in parental inputs in child development following smartphone adoption"
"Smartphone adoption and disruption to adolescent schedules"
Working and Published Papers
Jocelyn S. Wikle