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This Time It's Different: The Role of Women's Employment in a Pandemic Recession

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  • Titan Alon
  • Matthias Doepke
  • Jane Olmstead-Rumsey
  • Michèle Tertilt

Abstract

In recent US recessions, employment losses have been much larger for men than for women. Yet, in the current recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the opposite is true: unemployment is higher among women. In this paper, we analyze the causes and consequences of this phenomenon. We argue that women have experienced sharp employment losses both because their employment is concentrated in heavily affected sectors such as restaurants, and due to increased childcare needs caused by school and daycare closures, preventing many women from working. We analyze the repercussions of this trend using a quantitative macroeconomic model featuring heterogeneity in gender, marital status, childcare needs, and human capital. Our quantitative analysis suggests that a pandemic recession will i) feature a strong transmission from employment to aggregate demand due to diminished within-household insurance; ii) result in a widening of the gender wage gap throughout the recovery; and iii) contribute to a weakening of the gender norms that currently produce a lopsided distribution of the division of labor in home work and childcare.

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  • Titan Alon & Matthias Doepke & Jane Olmstead-Rumsey & Michèle Tertilt, 2020. "This Time It's Different: The Role of Women's Employment in a Pandemic Recession," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2020_198, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:bon:boncrc:crctr224_2020_198
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    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Covid-19 > Economic consequences > Employment and Work > Intra-household allocation

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    Cited by:

    1. Barrero, Jose Maria & Bloom, Nick & Davis, Steven J., 2020. "Why Working From Home Will Stick," SocArXiv wfdbe, Center for Open Science.
    2. Ritzen, Jozef M., 2020. "Once the great lockdown is lifted: Post COVID-19 options for the economy," MERIT Working Papers 2020-057, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Nicholas Bloom & Philip Bunn & Paul Mizen & Pawel Smietanka & Gregory Thwaites, 2020. "The Impact of Covid-19 on Productivity," NBER Working Papers 28233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Agostinelli, Francesco & Doepke, Matthias & Sorrenti, Giuseppe & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2022. "When the great equalizer shuts down: Schools, peers, and parents in pandemic times," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 206(C).
    5. Clara von Bismarck-Osten & Kirill Borusyak & Uta Schönberg, 2022. "The role of schools in transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus: quasi-experimental evidence from Germany," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 37(109), pages 87-130.
    6. Faberman, Jason & Mueller, Andreas I. & Sahin, Aysegül, 2022. "Has the Willingness to Work Fallen during the Covid Pandemic?," CEPR Discussion Papers 17043, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Scott, Douglas & Freund, Richard & Favara, Marta & Porter, Catherine & Sanchez, Alan, 2021. "Unpacking the Post-lockdown Employment Recovery of Young Women in the Global South," IZA Discussion Papers 14829, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Taiyo Fukai & Hidehiko Ichimura & Keisuke Kawata, 2021. "Describing the impacts of COVID-19 on the labor market in Japan until June 2020," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 439-470, July.
    9. Youngsoo Jang & Minchul Yum, 2020. "Aggregate and Intergenerational Implications of School Closures: A Quantitative Assessment," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2020_234v1, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    10. Sugawara, Shinya & Nakamura, Jiro, 2021. "Long-term care at home and female work during the COVID-19 pandemic," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 125(7), pages 859-868.
    11. Singh, Vikkram & Shirazi, Homayoun & Turetken, Jessica, 2022. "COVID-19 and gender disparities: Labour market outcomes," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 206-217.
    12. Anne Boring & Gloria Moroni, 2022. "Turning back the clock: Beliefs about gender roles during lockdown," Post-Print hal-03627187, HAL.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Covid-19; Pandemics; Recessions; Business Cycle; Gender Equality; School closures; Childcare; Gender Wage Gap;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General

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