The Impact of School and Childcare Closures on Labor Market Outcomes during the COVID-19 Pandemic
A substantial fraction of schools and childcare facilities in the United States closed their in-person operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. These closures may carry substantial costs to the families of affected children. In this paper, we examine the impact of school and childcare closures on parental labor market outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, we test whether COVID-19 school closures have a disproportionate impact on parents of school-age children (age 5-17 years old) and whether childcare closures affect parents of young children (age <5 years old) relative to others. Our results suggest that while closures have had little impact on whether parents work at all, they have had significant effects on whether parents work full time (at least 35 hours) and the number of hours worked per week. These effects are concentrated among low-educated parents, suggesting that such individuals had a more difficult time adjusting their work life to closures.
We thank the participants of the Washington State University School of Economic Sciences Student Seminar Series for their helpful comments and suggestions. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.