Follow us
Publications Commentary Research People Events News Resources and Videos About IFS
Home Publications The gendered division of paid and domestic work under lockdown

The gendered division of paid and domestic work under lockdown

IFS Working Paper W21/17

This paper provides novel empirical evidence on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the division of labour among parents of school-aged children in two-parent opposite-gender families. In line with existing evidence, we find that mothers' paid work took a larger hit than that of fathers, and that mothers spent substantially longer doing childcare and housework than their partners. We go further to show that these gender differences cannot be explained by gender differences in the industries and occupations in which parents worked prior to the lockdown. Nor can they be explained by gender differences in earnings prior to the crisis: independently of which parent earned the most before the pandemic, it is always mothers who adjusted time spent on paid and unpaid work more significantly. This is the case even in households where only one partner remained active in paid work. While we cannot fully rule out that these asymmetric responses are explained by gender differences in productivity in domestic work, our results do suggest that other factors, such as gender norms, may play an important role.

Coronavirus podcast

More on this topic

Book chapter
Ambulance
IFS Working Paper W21/27
Widespread misconceptions can be critical, especially in times of crisis. Through a field experiment, we study how to address such wrong or inaccurate beliefs using messages delivered to individual citizens using mobile phones. We focus on misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic in a ...
IFS Working Paper W21/26
MPCs were directly elicited from a representative sample of UK adults in July 2020 using receipt of a hypothetical unanticipated, one-time income payment. Reported MPCs are modest, around 11% on average.