The labor market impacts of COVID-19 by gender

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School of Business | Bachelor's thesis
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Degree programme
This literature review is a study to understand the different labor market impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had between genders. Using basic economics textbook theory as a tool and building on a conceptual framework of gender gaps and their evolution, I review a variety of literature and aim to find out if, how and why the pandemic has affected genders differently. To better understand the special characteristics of the pandemic recession, I also study what kinds of impacts the previous recessions have had and how do they differ from the pandemic one. One of the key findings of the thesis is that apart from the previous recessions where men have been the most affected, the pandemic has disproportionally affected women on the labor markets, which has manifested as decreases in women’s labor force participation rates and number of hours worked. Another key finding is that the most prominent explanations for this gender gap in labor market impacts by the pandemic are the occupational segregation between genders as well as the additional childcare induced by the pandemic. The occupational segregation aspect is mostly explained by women being more concentrated on sectors that are the most vulnerable to the pandemic. The childcare aspect, on the other hand, can be partially explained by production and specialization choices of a household, but also gender norms likely play a part.
Thesis advisor
Kitti, Mitri
COVID-19, gender gap, labor market, occupational segregation, child penalty
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