Gendered Time Use Patterns during the COVID-19 Lockdown: Evidence from Longitudinal Data in Singapore

56 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021

See all articles by Emma Zang

Emma Zang

Yale University - Department of Sociology

Poh Lin Tan

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Thomas Lyttelton

Yale University Sociology Department

Anna Guo

Yale University - Department of Biostatistics

Date Written: March 22, 2021

Abstract

Widespread shifts to telecommuting, school closures, and job losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have affected gendered time use patterns globally. Major gaps in the literature are the lack of longitudinal data to compare time use before and during the pandemic, and the lack of studies examining mechanisms through which the pandemic affects gendered time use patterns. This study uses a panel dataset of 290 pairs of married parents interviewed before, during, and after the COVID-19 lockdown in the Asian city state of Singapore, and examines gender inequalities in time spent on paid labor market work, housework, childcare, and total time use on the three activities. Gender gaps in housework and total time use increased during and persisted after the lockdown, even as the negative gender gap in paid market work hours narrowed. The gap in time spent caring for children expanded among households with fewer resources but decreased among households with more resources. We investigate three mechanisms through which the pandemic may have affected time use: 1) time availability, 2) relative resources, and 3) gender norms. Our results highlight the critical role that gender norms play in putting women into a vulnerable position when a pandemic strikes, especially among less-resourced households.

Keywords: COVID-19, time use, telecommuting, gender, inequality

JEL Classification: J16

Suggested Citation

Zang, Emma and Tan, Poh Lin and Lyttelton, Thomas and Guo, Anna, Gendered Time Use Patterns during the COVID-19 Lockdown: Evidence from Longitudinal Data in Singapore (March 22, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3809482 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3809482

Emma Zang (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Sociology ( email )

493 College St
New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Poh Lin Tan

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy ( email )

Singapore 117591
Singapore

Thomas Lyttelton

Yale University Sociology Department ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Anna Guo

Yale University - Department of Biostatistics ( email )

New Haven, CT
United States

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