Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Professor Angela Vossmeyer

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2021 Shreya Shome


This paper examines the role of school closures in reducing the female labor force participation during the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States. While there is significant discussion on the decline of female labor force participation, this paper examines the role of school closures and lack of child care options in determining women’s decisions and ability to work. The data set includes the share school closures at each level of education, the number of schools and students in each school, the regulatory stringency indices, and the number of Covid-19 related deaths in each state on a monthly basis from January 2020 to August 2021. Using a fixed effect panel data model, this paper finds that an increase in share of schools closed is associated with a large decrease in female labor force participation, where a full closure of schools decreases female labor force participation by 1 percentage point. This paper also finds that areas with greater growth in female labor force participation between 2017 and 2019 (before the pandemic) saw a more dramatic decline after the pandemic.