COVID and the Economic Importance of In-Person K-12 Schooling
The extent to which K-12 schools should remain open is at the forefront of discussions on long-term pandemic management. In this context, there has been little mention of the immediate importance of K-12 schooling for the rest of the economy. Eliminating in-person schooling reduces the amount of labour time parents of school-aged children have available to work, and therefore reduces income to those workers and the economy as a whole. We discuss two measures of economic importance, and how they can be modified to better reflect the vital role played by K-12 education. The first is its size, as captured by the fraction of GDP that is produced by that sector. The second is its centrality, reflecting how essential a sector is to the network of economic activity. Using data from Canada’s Census of Population and Symmetric Input-Output Tables, we show how accounting for this role dramatically increases the importance of K-12 schooling.
David A. Green & Ali Karimirad & Gaëlle Simard-Duplain & Henry E. Siu, 2021. "COVID-19 and the Economic Importance of In-Person K–12 Schooling," Canadian Public Policy, vol 47(2), pages 265-280.