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Gendered Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 7, 2022 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EST)

Hosted By: American Economic Association
  • Chair: Matthias Doepke, Northwestern University

Social Distancing, Stimulus Payments, and Domestic Violence: Evidence from the U.S. during COVID-19

Bilge Erten
,
Northeastern University
Pinar Keskin
,
Wellesley College
Silvia Prina
,
Northeastern University

Abstract

We examine the effects of government-mandated or self-imposed social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on the reporting of domestic violence to the police in the United States. Using a large dataset of daily domestic violence calls from 31 police departments for the January–September 2020 period (compared to 2019), we find that the early spike in police calls from the beginning of social distancing disappears around mid-April, when the distribution of CARES Act stimulus payments began. We observe that domestic violence calls for areas with higher concentration of Hispanics and noncitizens remain elevated even after the stimulus payments were delivered since these groups faced greater barriers in accessing the social welfare system. These results highlight the importance of improved access to social safety net programs in combating domestic violence and reconcile earlier findings in the literature of mixed evidence of the impact of COVID-19-induced social distancing on domestic violence.

The Gendered Effects of COVID-19 on Time Use and Academic Research Productivity

Tatyana Deryugina
,
University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
Olga Shurchkov
,
Wellesley College
Jenna Stearns
,
University of California-Davis

Abstract

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent counter-measures, such as school closures, shift to working from home, and social distancing are disrupting economic activity around the world. As with other major economic shocks, there will likely be winners and losers, leading to increased inequality across certain groups. In this project, we investigate the effects of COVID-19 on the gender gap in productivity among academics. First, we track the patterns of publications and working paper series submissions of male and female authors before and after COVID-19, performing a simple difference-in-difference analysis to see whether the trends diverge after COVID-19. Second, we conduct a broad survey of academics across various disciplines to collect more nuanced data on the respondents’ circumstances, such as spouse employment, the number and age of children, and time use. We find that female academics, particularly those who have young children, experienced a disproportionate reduction in time spent on research relative to comparable men and women without children. Second, we investigate the impact this disruption in time use had on the gender gap in productivity as measured by submissions to working paper series and peer review journals. This project constitutes an important contribution to the study of the far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still more importantly, it has the potential to put a spotlight on the fragility of our societal institutions whose collapse may wipe out decades of progress made toward gender equality. Our findings will also have important policy implications. For example, some academic institutions are offering generous tenure clock extensions due to COVID-19, and our research would shed light on the winners and losers of that policy.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Women’s Employment in Developing Countries

Kristina Manysheva
,
Northwestern University
Matthias Doepke
,
Northwestern University
Michèle Tertilt
,
University of Mannheim

Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the deepest global recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In most high-income countries, the pandemic recession has resulted in an unusually large impact on women in the labor market, driven in part by the sectoral distribution of employment losses and in part by childcare needs during closures of schools and daycares. In this paper, we provide evidence on how the pandemic recession has affected working women in a set of developing countries, and discuss potential long-run consequences for gender equality in the labor market. Some of the factors affecting women’s employment in rich countries are equally important elsewhere, such as the role of increased childcare needs during the pandemic. Important differences arise from the role of work in the informal sector and a lack of effective social insurance systems. The depth and duration of the pandemic itself is another source of differences, with a smaller initial impact on most developing countries but also a more drawn-out recovery. For both the immediate impact and long-run consequences, we point to the role of employment flexibility. In rich countries, expanded job flexibility, primarily in the form of working from home, helped protect women’s employment during the crisis and brings the prospect of lower gender inequality in the post-pandemic new normal. In many developing countries there is less evidence for increased job flexibility, which suggests that gender gaps in the labor market are likely to widen during the crisis and beyond.

COVID-19, Job Losses, and Intimate Partner Violence

Jorge Agüero
,
University of Connecticut
Erica Field
,
Duke University
Ignacio Rodriguez Hurtado
,
Duke University
Javier Romero
,
World Bank

Abstract

We collect retrospective panel survey data on household socioeconomic status and domestic conflict from a large nationwide sample in Peru and find a large increase in intimate partner violence (IPV) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The incidence rate for any type of IPV increased by 54% from April/May 2019 to April/May 2020, and the increase was sustained until July/August 2020. In order to better establish a causal association between the large increase in IPV over this period and the pandemic, we test whether increases are concentrated among households that experienced the largest pandemic-related income shocks based on the occupation and industry of the primary wage earner. Leveraging two separate identification strategies, we find that households most likely to lose a job experienced the largest increases in IPV over the period. This is true if we examine either occupations with heavy job losses or districts with heavy job losses. Moreover, the effects we find among households at risk are particularly large: Belonging to a negatively affected occupation increases the rate of physical IPV by 96% relative to occupations with few job losses. This relationship also holds when we examine employment shocks at the district level: a 10% increase in a district’s employment reduces IPV incidence by 7.1%, consistent with the results based on occupation. In summary, we document a large and sustained increase in IPV during the COVID-19 pandemic in Peru that appears to be a causal effect of pandemic-related income shocks incurred at the household and district levels.
Discussant(s)
Emily Leslie
,
Brigham Young University
Alicia Sasser Modestino
,
Northeastern University
Olga Stoddard
,
Brigham Young University
Jessica Leight
,
International Food Policy Research Institute
JEL Classifications
  • J1 - Demographic Economics
  • J2 - Demand and Supply of Labor