The next RITM Economics Seminar will take place on Monday 3 May, from 11:00 to 12:00. Anne Boring (Erasmus University, LIEPP Science Po) will present “Turning back the clock: Beliefs in gender norms during lockdown” (co-writting with Gloria Moroni.)
We study the impact of lockdown measures on beliefs regarding gender norms. We collect data from a representative sample of 1,000 individuals in France during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. To measure beliefs in gender norms, we use questions from the European Values Study, and conduct a nearest neighbor match to compare beliefs before and during lockdown. We find evidence that the first lockdown was associated with a shift towards more traditional beliefs in gender norms. The effect is mainly driven by individuals who were the most time constrained during lockdown: individuals with children under the age of twelve living in the household. Although we find that the effect is mainly driven by men, we also find evidence of a
mother's guilt'' effect: mothers whose partners took relatively more care of children during lockdown tend to agree more with statements associating working mothers with lower well-being of the family and children. Finally, we find evidence that is consistent with aconservative shift” hypothesis: beliefs in more unequal gender norms increase more for individuals from economically vulnerable groups. Overall, our results suggest that there is no ratchet effect regarding beliefs in gender norms: when there is a reversal in the conditions that usually enable individuals to believe in equal gender norms (such as the ability to outsource household production or economic stability), individuals shift their beliefs towards less equal gender norms.