Volume 44 - Article 4 | Pages 99–124  

Coronavirus and care: How the coronavirus crisis affected fathers' involvement in Germany

By Michaela Kreyenfeld, Sabine Zinn

Abstract

Background: Some have hypothesized that the coronavirus crisis may result in a retraditionalization of behaviour. This paper examines this hypothesis by analyzing how the time fathers and mothers spent with their children changed during the first lockdown in the case of Germany.

Methods: Data for this investigation come from the German Socio-Economic Panel. The outcome variable is the time spent on childcare tasks. We investigate how this time changed between 2019 and spring 2020 and how these patterns differed by gender, education, and employment situation. As a method, we employ linear panel regressions where the dependent variable is the change in childcare time between the two survey years.

Results: We find that fathers and mothers expanded the time they spent on childcare to similar degrees between 2019 and spring 2020, which marks the period of the first lockdown. However, we also observe large differences by level of education. We find that men with low and medium levels of education spent more time with their children than they did before the onset of the crisis.

Contribution: Our study provides novel evidence on the effect of the coronavirus crisis on fathers’ involvement in childcare. Contrary to expectations based on previous research, we find that fathers expanded the time they were spending with their children during the first lockdown. While we also find that women continue to perform the bulk of childcare tasks, our results cast a positive light on the potential of paternal involvement in contemporary societies.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Social policies, separation, and second birth spacing in Western Europe
Volume 37 - Article 37

Fertility progression in Germany: An analysis using flexible nonparametric cure survival models
Volume 35 - Article 18

Fertility Reactions to the "Great Recession" in Europe: Recent Evidence from Order-Specific Data
Volume 29 - Article 4

Economic Uncertainty and Family Dynamics in Europe: Introduction
Volume 27 - Article 28

Anticipatory analysis and its alternatives in life-course research: Part 2: Marriage and first birth
Volume 15 - Article 17

Anticipatory analysis and its alternatives in life-course research: Part 1: Education and first childbearing
Volume 15 - Article 16

Time Squeeze, Partner Effect or Self-Selection?: An Investigation into the Positive Effect of Women’s Education on Second Birth Risks in West Germany
Volume 7 - Article 2

Fertility Decisions in the FRG and GDR: An Analysis with Data from the German Fertility and Family Survey
Special Collection 3 - Article 11

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Measuring short-term mobility patterns in North America using Facebook advertising data, with an application to adjusting COVID-19 mortality rates
Volume 50 - Article 10    | Keywords: COVID-19, data collection, Facebook, mortality, North America, short-term mobility

Immigrant mortality advantage in the United States during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic
Volume 50 - Article 7    | Keywords: COVID-19, immigrants, mortality

Leaving and returning to the parental home during COVID times in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom
Volume 50 - Article 3    | Keywords: behavior, COVID-19, intentions, leaving the parental home, motivations

The COVID-19 pandemic and fertility responses: TFR simulation analysis using parity progressions in South Korea
Volume 49 - Article 32    | Keywords: COVID-19, fertility intentions, marriage intentions, simulation

Partnership satisfaction in Czechia during the COVID-19 pandemic
Volume 49 - Article 24    | Keywords: COVID-19, family, pandemic, partnership, separation