IZA DP No. 14408: Mothers' Caregiving during COVID: The Impact of Divorce Laws and Homeownership on Women's Labor Force Status
We investigate women's likelihood of withdrawing from paid labor to care for children and help them with schoolwork as a result of COVID and school closures. Were women more likely to shift out of paid labor in states where property-division rules would better protect the financial interests of stay-at-home parents? Such higher protection is offered in states with community property regimes or with homemaking provisions, the alternative being equitable-division and no homemaking provisions. We use monthly data from the U.S. Current Population Survey and compare the labor force participation of women with children in grades K-6 between 2019 and 2020, before and after COVID started. We find an association between marital property laws offering women more financial protection and women's labor supply response to COVID-19, especially among non-immigrants.