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A Positive Outcome of COVID-19? The Effects of Work from Home on Gender Attitudes and Household Production

March 10, 2022
Hiromi Hara*1
Daiji Kawaguchi*2

Abstract

One of the more substantial changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the work from home (WfH) movement. However, as countries now prepare to move beyond the pandemic, the longevity of WfH remains unclear, as it involves not only the operations of businesses but of households as well. A further question is whether this pandemic-induced behavioral change might lead to more long-lasting societal effects such as a shift in gender norms. This study draws on an original panel survey dataset in Japan covering the periods before and after the onset of the pandemic to explore how engagement in WfH affects a couple's allocation of household production, work hours, and attitudes toward traditional gender norms. We find that husbands who adopt WfH increase their share of household production and also form more gender-neutral views of traditional gender roles. We also discuss the potential impact of this shift in gender attitudes on the future of WfH and the labor market.

JEL classification
J12, J16, J22, J81

Keywords
Work from Home, Household Production, Gender Attitudes, COVID-19, Japan

This study was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) #19H00589, Challenging Research (Exploratory) #19K21687,and Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) #19K01725. We thank Saisawat Samutpradit for her excellent research assistance and Miho Takizawa and participants of the Bank of Japan and University of Tokyo joint conference for their comments. Editorial assistance has been provided by Philip C. MacLellan. Any remaining errors are the responsibility of the authors.

  1. *1Japan Women's University
    E-mail : harahiromi@fc.jwu.ac.jp
  2. *2University of Tokyo
    E-mail : kawaguchi@e.u-tokyo.ac.jp

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