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MIDAS Seminar Series and ICPSR Co-present: Misty Heggeness, Research Economist, US Census Bureau
February 8, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Research Economist, US Census Bureau
Estimating the immediate impact of the COVID-19 shock on parental attachment to the labor market and the double bind of mothers
I examine the impact of the COVID-19 shock on parents’ labor supply during the initial stages of the pandemic. Using difference-in-difference estimation and monthly panel data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), I compare labor market attachment, non-work activity, hours worked, and earnings and wages of those in areas with early school closures and stay-in-place orders with those in areas with delayed or no pandemic closures. While there was no immediate impact on detachment or unemployment, mothers with jobs in early closure states were 68.8 percent more likely than mothers in late closure states to have a job but not be working as a result of early shutdowns. There was no effect on working fathers or working women without school age children. Mothers who continued working increased their work hours relative to comparable fathers; this effect, however, appears entirely driven by a reduction in fathers’ hours worked. Overall, the pandemic appears to have induced a unique immediate juggling act for working parents of school age children. Mothers took a week of leave from formal work; fathers working fulltime, for example, reduced their hours worked by 0.53 hours over the week. While experiences were different for mothers and fathers, each are vulnerable to scarring and stunted opportunities for career growth and advancement due to the pandemic.
Misty Heggeness is Principal Economist and Senior Advisor for Evaluations and Experiments at the U.S. Census Bureau. Dr. Heggeness has a PhD from the University of Minnesota. She has worked as a research economist in the U.S. federal government since 2010 and also held positions at the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Labor. She teaches a course on policy analysis and evaluation at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on survey response quality, poverty & inequality, gender, and the high skilled workforce and has appeared in outlets like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Nature, and Science. At the Census Bureau, she leads a high-profile initiative to integrate the Census Bureau’s major frames and co-leads a 2020 administrative records census project.