Date Published:
Dec 21, 2023
Focus Area(s):
DP 2023-26

This study explores the potential impact of school closures on in-person learning and parents’ labor supply in terms of paid employment and hours of work. Using a probit model, it finds that regardless of educational attainment, women with school-age children face a lower probability of being on paid employment, but the same cannot be observed among men with school-age children. The Heckman model was applied to estimate the log of hours of work. Conditional on employment, it was observed that school closures do not significantly determine the log of hours of work for both men and women with school-age children. However, further disaggregating the estimates by education reveals that female college graduates—and, to some extent, male college graduates—with school-age children tend to work more hours during school closures. In contrast, school closures do not affect the work hours of less educated men and women with children. Overall, the results suggest that school closures have a negative effect on employment at the extensive margin for women, but there is no evidence of reduced labor supply at the intensive margins. Policies aimed at preserving employment and mitigating human capital deterioration can thus address the cost of school closures on women’s labor supply.

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