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Primary school reopenings and parental work

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Beauregard, P.-L., Connolly, M., Haeck, C. & Molnár, T. L.
Publication Date: 
1 Aug 2020

Excerpt from abstract

In this paper, we exploit the geographical pattern of primary school reopenings during the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec to estimate the impact of school reopenings on parental employment and work hours. We first use a difference-in-differences approach, in which we compare parents of primary-school children in regions where school reopened in May 2020 to similar parents in regions where schools remained closed. We also use a triple-difference model, in which parents of older, secondary-school children are used as an additional control group. We estimate the impact of school reopenings separately for mothers and fathers, and for single parents and parents living in dualparent households. We find a positive impact of school reopenings on employment and on actual hours worked. The effects tend to be stronger for single parents: single mothers have experienced a 20 percentage point increase in their employment rate following school reopenings. We also split our sample according to whether the job can be done from home, and find stronger impacts for those whose jobs cannot easily be done from home. Our results suggest that reopening schools allows parents, especially single parents, to maintain their employment link and support themselves. JEL codes: I24, I28, J21, J22 Keywords: school closures, school reopenings, labour market, employment, work hours, pandemic, Canada