Schools, Job Flexibility, and Married Women's Labor Supply: Evidence From the COVID-19 Pandemic
This study explores the effect of school reopenings during the COVID-19 pandemic on married women's labor supply. We proxy for in-person attendance at US K-12 schools using smartphone data from Safegraph and measure female employment, hours, and remote work using the Current Population Survey. Difference-in-differences estimates show that K-12 reopenings are associated with significant increases in employment and hours among married women with school-aged children, with no measurable effects on labor supply in comparison groups. Employment effects of school reopenings are concentrated among mothers of older school-aged children, while remote work may mitigate effects for mothers of younger children.
We thank Sandra Black, Claudia Goldin, Jacob Goodman, Jennifer Heissel and participants at seminars at Dartmouth College and the Southern Economics Association 2021 Annual Meetings for helpful comments. We also thank Rebecca Margolit, Samuel Safford, Hannah Stuart and Marissa Talcott for excellent research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Joseph J. Sabia
Dr. Sabia acknowledges research support from the Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies (CHEPS) at San Diego State University, which includes grants received from the Charles Koch Foundation.Jessamyn Schaller
Jessamyn Schaller acknowledges support from the Lowe Institute for Political Economy at Claremont McKenna College and research assistance from Marissa Talcott and Hannah Stuart.