COVID-19 and women’s work, the care economy, etc.



This week in Course Notes:

COVID-19 recession has disproportionately impacted female labor supply due to school closures and shutdown of entertainment and tourism industries

Recent global recessions have had a disproportionate impact on male employment rates in advanced countries. But the COVID-19 recession has reversed that trend. Why were women more negatively affected in the labor market this time around? Titan Alon and his co-authors use micro-data from the United States, Canada, and four EU countries to answer this question. They first note that while recessions typically affect male-dominated industries like construction, the COVID-19 recession has hit female-intensive industries like tourism and entertainment. But that’s not the whole story. The gender gap is greatest among parents of school-aged children, suggesting that school closures have also forced many women to replace the labor supply with childcare services. child care.. The gender gap in labor supply is almost entirely concentrated among workers who cannot work remotely. This may suggest that women stand to gain the most from being able to work from home, but there is a caveat. Among parents working from home with school-aged children, mothers reported much larger productivity declines than fathers.

Inequality of opportunity at school can hamper intergenerational income mobility and widen the differences in educational investment between low-income and high-income parents

Children from poorer families tend to attend worse schools. What does this mean for intergenerational income mobility? Andreu Arenas and Jean Hindriks design a theoretical model of intergenerational investment in education to answer this question. They show that the inequality of opportunities at school results from two distinct phenomena: a gap in the quality of the school and differences in the additional investments of the parents. In the model, parents decide how much of their income they want to invest in their children’s education, which is based in part on the educational return on that investment. The main finding is that higher income parents increase their investment in education in part because their children attend better quality schools., which offer higher returns for these investments; in fact a “doubling” of inequalities. As a result, intergenerational income persistence increases at the top of the income distribution. One implication of the model is that equalizing the quality of schools would help break these vicious circles, in part by encouraging greater investment in education by low-income parents.

Paid family leave improves employers’ ability to manage worker absences and does not affect employee performance

In one recent edition of Class Notes, we have summarized some of the evidence that paid family leave (PFL) policies can improve the health of workers. But is paid family leave also good for employers? Ann P. Bartel and her co-authors survey a representative sample of companies with 10 to 99 employees in New York and Pennsylvania, before and after New York City passed a paid family leave law in 2018. The law provides for eight weeks of paid leave for new parents and employees caring for sick family members at a 50% wage replacement rate. Drawing on attendance as well as opinion surveys of employers and employees, they use a difference-in-differences approach to compare similar businesses in the two states. The PFL policy has increased leave, especially in companies with less than 50 employees, which is not covered by the current federal law on family and medical leave.. After the PFL legislation, employers said they were much more able to deal with workers’ absences; employers’ assessments of employee performance and productivity remained unchanged; and half of all companies expressed support for the new policy.

Top graphic: Essential workers have tested positive for COVID-19 at higher rates than non-essential workers during lockdowns

This week top graphic shows that during lockdown, essential workers in Pennsylvania were 55% more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than the rest of the population. Two weeks after the non-essential business closure order went into effect, we see a big difference in the rate of positive tests between essential and non-essential workers.

Choice opinion: investing in the care economy is essential for our economic recovery

“[T]The care economy is known for what it is: invisible scaffolds that allow American workers to do their jobs… Investments in the care economy are not only long overdue, but also critical to economic recovery and growth in quality employment. Functional and affordable care is a public good: it is the foundation for Americans to provide for their families, care for loved ones and do their jobs ”. write Molly Kinder and Martha Ross.

Self-promotion: The pandemic may have eased the pressure on time for some middle-class families

If you’ve been following our work lately, you’ll know that we’ve conducted a series of in-depth interviews with middle-class families across the country to better understand their schedules, financial health, and other aspects of their lives. well-being. It’s all part of our Voices of the Middle Class project. As the COVID-19 pandemic struck and much of daily life came to a halt, we discovered a “guilty secret” voiced by many – especially women – of the middle class: the devastating pandemic has in fact alleviated many of the daily pressures of pre-COVID-19 life. In the pre-pandemic times, many middle-class individuals were “pressed for time and left in search of financial security which is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain”, often working multiple jobs and s. ‘simultaneously looking after children. The lockdowns eased the pressure on time for some middle-class families because children no longer had to be dropped off or taken care of at school and work became far away. However, for other families, the pandemic has resulted in job losses and other economic hardships that threaten their middle class status. To support a more prosperous middle class and ensure a strong recovery, policymakers need to provide middle-class workers with a living wage and create a stronger safety net.

For your timeline: dispelling myths about poverty, a wealth tax to create equity, and the effect of homeownership rates on racial wealth gaps

Dispel myths about poverty and expand income support

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT

Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Fair Share: How Wealth Tax and Progressive Taxation Can Create Fairness

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT

Roosevelt Institute

Real Estate Equity Projections: How Future Leaders and Homeownership Rates Could Affect Racial Gaps

Monday, April 26, 2021 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. EDT

Urban Institute

Shameless self-promotion: new podcast

My favorite description of a dialogue is “thinking together in relation”, and that’s the unofficial motto of my new podcast. (Note that this is a personal effort, not a Brookings product, so I’m grateful for permission to share it here). In the first episode, I discuss with Jonathan Haidt how to improve freedom of expression. You can find the pod here, or in all usual places, including Spotify and Apple podcasts.

Image from the Reeves podcast


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