Schools, Job Flexibility, and Married Women's Labor Supply
This study examines the employment effects of a large shock to mothers' childcare costs generated by the availability of in-person K-12 instruction during the COVID- 19 pandemic. We proxy for school attendance using smartphone data from Safegraph. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we find K-12 reopenings are associated with increases in employment and hours among married women with school-aged children with no measurable effects on labor supply of childless women, custodial fathers, or unmarried women. Event-study analyses are consistent with a causal interpretation. Major activity responses show school reopenings reduced married women remaining out of the labor force to care for children.