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Paternal Leave, Child Care and Work-Life Balance

Labour economics

Senior Researcher : Jennifer Graves

Research Centre or Institution : Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.


Due to the situation caused by Covid-19, our original estimation strategy became no longer possible (as it involved in-person data collection). The project therefore experienced some necessary modifications. These modifications have, thus far, proved quite fruitful.

We study the changes in the use of time dedicated to childcare and domestic chores before and after the confinement period in the spring of 2020 in Spain resulting from Covid-19. Confinement served as an unanticipated exogenous shock that forced families to adjust their time allocation between paid and unpaid work. This allowed us to study the reallocation of the household of domestic work in response to this joint burden of often having to continue working from home, and the inability to externalize the care of children or domestic chores. To this end, we have now carried out two rounds of surveys, one in May and another in November of 2020. Using this unique survey data, we find that the large increase in childcare and housework during this time was equally split between men and women but women continued supporting the burden of home production. We also provide evidence that traditional explanations based on comparative advantages or time availability cannot fully account for the specialization patterns observed within households.

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