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Sharing the Caring? The Gender Division of Care Work during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany

Author

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  • Jessen, Jonas

    (European University Viadrina, Frankfurt / Oder)

  • Spieß, C. Katharina

    (Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung (BiB))

  • Waights, Sevrin

    (DIW Berlin)

  • Wrohlich, Katharina

    (DIW Berlin)

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic and related closures of daycare centers and schools significantly increased the amount of care work done by parents. There is much speculation over whether the pandemic increased or decreased gender equality in parental care work. Based on representative data for Germany we present an empirical analysis that shows greater support for the latter rather than the former hypothesis. A key finding is that there is a significant increase in the number of couples where the mother is left completely or almost completely alone with the care work. We see only small increases in the prevalence of fathers doing more than mothers or in splitting these tasks 50:50. Additionally we find that the increase in mothers solely responsible for care work is greatest when the mother alone works from home. The division of care work is perceived very differently by mothers and fathers, a difference that also increased during the pandemic.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14457
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Claudia Hupkau & Barbara Petrongolo, 2020. "Work, Care and Gender during the COVID‐19 Crisis," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(3), pages 623-651, September.
    2. Mangiavacchi, Lucia & Piccoli, Luca & Pieroni, Luca, 2021. "Fathers matter: Intrahousehold responsibilities and children's wellbeing during the COVID-19 lockdown in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 42(C).
    3. Alison Andrew & Sarah Cattan & Monica Costa Dias & Christine Farquharson & Lucy Kraftman & Sonya Krutikova & Angus Phimister & Almudena Sevilla, 2022. "The gendered division of paid and domestic work under lockdown," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(4), pages 325-340, December.
    4. 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).
    5. Titan Alon & Matthias Doepke & Jane Olmstead-Rumsey & Michèle Tertilt, 2020. "The Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Equality," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2020_163, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    6. Pietro Biroli & Steven Bosworth & Marina Della Giusta & Amalia Di Girolamo & Sylvia Jaworska & Jeremy Vollen, 2020. "Family Life in Lockdown," Working Papers 2020-051, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    7. Kai-Uwe Müller & Claire Samtleben & Julia Schmieder & Katharina Wrohlich, 2020. "Corona-Krise erschwert Vereinbarkeit von Beruf und Familie vor allem für Mütter – Erwerbstätige Eltern sollten entlastet werden," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 87(19), pages 331-340.
    8. Alison Andrew & Sarah Cattan & Monica Costa Dias & Christine Farquharson & Lucy Kraftman & Sonya Krutikova & Angus Phimister & Almudena Sevilla, 2022. "The gendered division of paid and domestic work under lockdown," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(4), pages 325-340, December.
    9. Almudena Sevilla & Sarah Smith, 2020. "Baby steps: the gender division of childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(Supplemen), pages 169-186.
    10. Almudena Sevilla & Sarah Smith, 0. "Baby steps: the gender division of childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(Supplemen), pages 169-186.
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    Cited by:

    1. Danzer, Natalia & Huebener, Mathias & Pape, Astrid & Spieß, C. Katharina & Siegel, Nico A. & Wagner, Gert G., 2021. "Cracking under Pressure? Gender Role Attitudes toward Maternal Employment in Times of a Pandemic," IZA Discussion Papers 14471, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Greta Morando & Lucinda Platt, 2022. "The Impact of Centre‐based Childcare on Non‐cognitive Skills of Young Children," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 89(356), pages 908-946, October.
    3. Lembcke, Franziska & Nöh, Lukas & Schwarz, Milena, 2021. "Anreizwirkungen des deutschen Steuer- und Transfersystems auf das Erwerbsangebot von Zweitverdienenden," Working Papers 06/2021, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung.
    4. Odile Mackett, 2022. "Decent Work in the South African Macroeconomy: Who are The Winners and Losers?," Humanistic Management Journal, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 277-305, October.
    5. 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.
    6. Illing, Hannah & Oberfichtner, Michael & Pestel, Nico & Schmieder, Johannes F. & Trenkle, Simon, 2022. "Geschlechtsspezifische Arbeitsmarktwirkung der Covid-19-Pandemie," IZA Standpunkte 102, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Lundberg, Shelly, 2022. "Gender Economics: Dead-Ends and New Opportunities," IZA Discussion Papers 15217, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    COVID-19; child care; domestic work; gender division; day care;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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