In her Times economics blog—I love the Times’ blogs, they’re really pretty good—Catherine Rampell writes up the thesis that the fierce competition to get into top-notch colleges such as Harvard is pushing parents to spend more time with their children.

As economists Garey and Valerie Ramsey argue in a working paper cutely titled “The Rug Rat Race,”

….“cohort crowding” has led parents to compete more aggressively for college slots by spending increasing amounts of time on college preparation. Our theoretical model shows that, since college-educated parents have a comparative advantage in college preparation, rivalry leads them to increase preparation time by a greater amount than less-educated parents.

On the other hand, college-educated parents may have more leisure time (better, higher-paying jobs) than less-educated parents, who may well have to work two jobs just to pay the bills…

And how would the annual higher-than-inflation tuition increases factor into this equation?