Questions and answers about
the UK economy.

When school closes, dad works and mum stays home?

What is the division of child care between mothers and fathers, and how does this division affect labor supply? The spread of Covid-19 has led to temporary closures of childcare facilities and schools in many countries. This is particularly challenging for working parents who have to educate their children at home. Due to prevailing gender norms, it is likely that this additional burden is not equally split between mothers and fathers. In this project, we study whether differences in childcare responsibilities between parents can lead to larger gender differences in the labor market. Specifically, we estimate if mothers are more likely than fathers to reduce their labor supply as a response to the crisis and if a differential response widens the gender earnings gap. To identify the impact of school closures, we analyze social security records from Austria. First, we compare the employment outcomes of parents to those of non-parents, before and after school closures. Second, we test whether these differences differ between women and men. If gender differences in childcare responsibilities exist, we expect that mothers are more likely than fathers to reduce their labor supply. Because demand shocks induced by the pandemic can be different between groups, we control for a number of confounding factors such as the sector of employment.

Lead investigator:

Omar Bamieh


University of Vienna

Primary topic:

Jobs, work, pay & benefits

Secondary topic:

Families & households

Region of data collection:


Country of data collection


Type of data being collected:

Publicly available

Unit of real-time data collection