July 2020

IZA DP No. 13519: Fathers Matter: Intra-Household Responsibilities and Children's Wellbeing during the COVID-19 Lockdown in Italy

published in: Economics & Human Biology, 2021, 42, 101016

The lockdown declared during the Spring 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak caused a reallocation of market and household work. A the same time school closures in many countries impacted on children's lives and their learning process. In Italy, schools and nurseries have been closed during three months and the incidence and quality of distant learning activities has been hetero-geneous over education levels and among schools. Using a real time survey data collected in April 2020 on children's wellbeing, and parents' market and household work, we estimate how the reallocation of intra-household responsibilities during the lock-down has affected children's use of time, their emotional status and their home learning. We find that changes in the parental division of household tasks and childcare are mostly due to the labor market restrictions imposed during the lockdown and that this reallocation increases fathers involvement in childcare and homeschooling. This positive variation in fathers involvement is accompanied by an increase in children's emotional wellbeing while the quality of children's home learning is mostly determined by distant learning activities proposed by their teachers.