Childcare Obligations Will Constrain Many Workers When Reopening the US Economy

5 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2020

See all articles by Jonathan I. Dingel

Jonathan I. Dingel

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Christina Patterson

Northwestern University, Department of Economics

Joseph Vavra

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 18, 2020

Abstract

Most states and cities in the U.S. have shut all non-essential businesses in response to COVID-19. In this note, we argue that as policies are developed to “re-open” the economy and send people back to work, strategies for childcare arrangements, such as re-opening schools and daycares, will be important. Substantial fractions of the U.S. labor force have children at home and will likely face obstacles to returning to work if childcare options remain closed. Younger workers, who might be able to return to work earlier to the extent that they are less susceptible to the virus, are also more likely to require childcare arrangements in order to return to work. Using 2018 data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, we calculate the share of employed households who are affected by childcare constraints.

Suggested Citation

Dingel, Jonathan I. and Patterson, Christina and Vavra, Joseph, Childcare Obligations Will Constrain Many Workers When Reopening the US Economy (April 18, 2020). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2020-46, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3579711 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3579711

Jonathan I. Dingel

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

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United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.jdingel.com

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Christina Patterson

Northwestern University, Department of Economics ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Joseph Vavra (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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