The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent counter-measures, such as school closures, shift to working from home, and social distancing are disrupting economic activity around the world. As with other major economic shocks, there are winners and losers, leading to increased inequality across certain groups. In this project, we investigate the effects of COVID-19 on the gender gap in productivity among academics. First, we track the patterns of publications and working paper series submissions of male and female authors before and after COVID-19, performing a simple difference-in-difference analysis to see whether the trends diverge after COVID-19. Preliminary findings from economics suggest that female economists experienced significant declines in submissions in the early months of the pandemic, relative to the mean. Second, we conduct a broad survey of academics across various disciplines to collect more nuanced data on the respondents’ circumstances, such as spouse employment, the number and age of children, and time use. We find that female academics, particularly those who have children, report a disproportionate reduction in time dedicated to research relative to comparable men and women without children. Both men and women report substantial increases in childcare and housework burdens, but women experienced significantly larger increases relative to men.
Contact person: Marina Chugunova