The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women’s Labor Market Outcomes : Initial Emperical Evidence on the Gender Gap in Employment and Actual Hours Worked in Norway
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- Master Thesis 
The aim of this master thesis is to estimate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the gender gap in employment and hours worked in the Norwegian labor market. First, we illuminate attributes of the Nordic model and trends in the gender gap in Norway. Second, we seek to uncover how economic explanations contribute to the gender gap. In our empirical analysis we attempt to find evidence of a “shecession” in employment and hours worked in Norway. Using data from the Norwegian Labor Force Survey (AKU) we do not find evidence of a “shecession” in employment, possibly indicating that women were not disproportionately displaced compared to men during the pandemic. We propose that this may be due to the attributes of the Nordic model. When studying the pandemic-induced change in actual hours worked, we find that when controlling for industry and occupation combinations women worked more actual hours relative to men after the pandemic. This is likely due to the high concentration of women in vital functions in society, where our findings indicate that there is a positive effect of being a female public worker on actual hours worked during the pandemic. Likely contributing to this is the fact that a large share of women worked part-time in vital functions before the pandemic and had to increase their actual working hours to a larger degree than men on average. Time constraints due to childcare at home on labor market outcomes have been an important topic during the pandemic. We therefore investigate how the pandemic has affected the labor market outcomes of mothers versus non-mothers. Although we do not find a negative family gap in employment, we detect a pandemic-induced motherhood gap in hours worked, where mothers have a greater reduction in hours compared to non-mothers.