Research on Women’s Employment and COVID-19 by Professor Couch released by NBER

“The Evolving Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Gender Inequality in the U.S. Labor Market:  The COVID Motherhood Penalty” has been released by the National Bureau of Economic Research as Working Paper 29426.

The paper is co-authored by Professor Ken Couch along with Robert Fairlie at the University of California Santa Cruz and Huanan Xu at Indiana University South Bend.


We explore whether COVID-19 disproportionately affected women in the labor market using CPS data through the end of 2020. We find that male-female gaps in the employment-to-population ratio and hours worked for women with school-age children have widened but not for those with younger children. Triple-difference estimates are consistent with most of the reductions observed for women with school-age children being attributable to additional child care responsibilities (the “COVID motherhood penalty”). Conducting decompositions, we find women had a greater likelihood to telework, higher education levels and a less-impacted occupational distribution, which all contributed to lessening negative impacts relative to men.

The paper can be found at this link: