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COVID-19, Income Shocks and Female Employment

Ishaan Bansal () and Kanika Mahajan ()
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Ishaan Bansal: IDInsight

No 69, Working Papers from Ashoka University, Department of Economics

Abstract: Existing evidence shows that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to employed women witnessing larger losses in the labor market in India. We examine the heterogeneity that underlie these trends by studying the impact of Covid-19 induced income shocks on female employment. Using individual level panel data and a difference-in-differences strategy that exploits lockdown timing (April 2020) and accounts for seasonal employment trends, we find that women in households facing a hundred percent reduction in household male income during the lockdown were 1.5 pp (25%) more likely to take up work during the "unlockdown" months (June-August 2020). We also find these results to be predominant in poorer and less educated households. However, these positive employment trends are only transitory in nature with a reversal in female employment in these households from September 2020 onwards. These findings underscore the use of women's labor as insurance during low-income periods by poorer households.

Keywords: Gender; India; COVID-19; Employment; income; shocks (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 33
Date: 2021-11-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gen, nep-ias, nep-lab and nep-mac
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