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COVID-19, Income Shocks and Female Employment

Author

Listed:
  • Ishaan Bansal

    (IDInsight)

  • Kanika Mahajan

    (Ashoka University)

Abstract

Existing evidence shows that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to employed women witnessing larger losses in the labor market in India. We examine the heterogeneity that underlie these trends by studying the impact of Covid-19 induced income shocks on female employment. Using individual level panel data and a difference-in-differences strategy that exploits lockdown timing (April 2020) and accounts for seasonal employment trends, we find that women in households facing a hundred percent reduction in household male income during the lockdown were 1.5 pp (25%) more likely to take up work during the "unlockdown" months (June-August 2020). We also find these results to be predominant in poorer and less educated households. However, these positive employment trends are only transitory in nature with a reversal in female employment in these households from September 2020 onwards. These findings underscore the use of women's labor as insurance during low-income periods by poorer households.

Suggested Citation

  • Ishaan Bansal & Kanika Mahajan, 2021. "COVID-19, Income Shocks and Female Employment," Working Papers 69, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ash:wpaper:69
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    File URL: https://dp.ashoka.edu.in/ash/wpaper/paper69_0.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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