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Neither Backlash nor Convergence: Dynamics of Intracouple Childcare Division after the First COVID-19 Lockdown and Subsequent Reopening in Germany

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  • Boll, Christina
  • Müller, Dana

    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)

  • Schüller, Simone

    (German Youth Institute (DJI))

Abstract

Using unique monthly panel data from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) covering the immediate postlockdown period from June to August 2020, we investigate the opposing claims of widening/closing the gender gap in parental childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. We contribute to the current literature by analyzing the medium-term dynamics of couples' childcare division and by considering the prepandemic division rather than providing merely snapshots during lockdown. Our results suggest a slight shift toward a more egalitarian division in June that, however, faded out in subsequent months. Starting from a fairly "traditional" prepandemic childcare division, the lockdown stimulus was not nearly strong enough to level the playing field. A subgroup analysis differentiating between parents' individual lockdownspecific work arrangements shows that the drivers of the observed shift were mothers who worked more than 20 hours a week and for whom remote work was not possible. Fathers' work arrangement instead did not play a significant role. We conclude that the shift emerged out of necessity rather than opportunity, which makes it likely to fade once the necessity vanishes, thereby catapulting parents back to their initial childcare arrangements.

Suggested Citation

  • Boll, Christina & Müller, Dana & Schüller, Simone, 2021. "Neither Backlash nor Convergence: Dynamics of Intracouple Childcare Division after the First COVID-19 Lockdown and Subsequent Reopening in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 14375, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14375
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    Cited by:

    1. Claudia Andrade & Martie Gillen & José Alberto Molina & Melissa J. Wilmarth, 2022. "The Social and Economic Impact of Covid-19 on Family Functioning and Well-Being: Where do we go from here?," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 205-212, June.
    2. Lídia Farré & Yarine Fawaz & Libertad González & Jennifer Graves, 2022. "Gender Inequality in Paid and Unpaid Work During Covid‐19 Times," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 68(2), pages 323-347, June.
    3. Alejandra Rodríguez Sánchez & Anette Fasang & Susan Harkness, 2021. "Gender division of housework during the COVID-19 pandemic: Temporary shocks or durable change?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 45(43), pages 1297-1316.
    4. Stefanie Stantcheva, 2022. "Inequalities in the Times of a Pandemic," NBER Working Papers 29657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jessen, Jonas & Spieß, C. Katharina & Waights, Sevrin & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2021. "Sharing the Caring? The Gender Division of Care Work during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 14457, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    COVID-19; intracouple division of unpaid work; childcare; gender; working from home; IAB-HOPP;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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