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Care-Arrangements and Parental Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany

Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe (LIfBi); Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB)

This study adds to a growing body of literature on how working parents in Germany –a country dominated by a modernized breadwinner model –rearrange informal childcare during the pandemic-related closure of schools and childcare facilities. The study empirically examines the short-term consequences for informal care-arrangements under control of pandemic-related altered working conditions of the parents and analyse how informal childcare affects parental well-being.

  • Netzwerk: RatSWD
  • Disziplin: Sozial
  • Forschungsmethode: Quantitativ
  • Forschungsdesign: Repräsentativ angelegte Befragung, Sekundäranalyse
  • Erhebungsstatus: Daten zugänglich, Ergebnisse veröffentlicht, Erhebung abgeschlossen

Ziele der Studie

This study aims to extend the existing evidence by (a) empirically examining whether earlier results on pandemic-related informal care-arrangements are reproducible with panel data that allows considering a rich set of control variables; (b) investigating which individual or job-related characteristics are related to different care-arrangements; (c) analysing how altered care-arrangements affect parental well-being; and (d) examining these relationships separately for mothers and fathers with children of different age to obtain a comprehensive picture. By using rich German panel data and focusing on three representative subsamples of parents, together with a large set of pre-pandemic control variables, the study provides a rare opportunity to examine first trends in gender inequalities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany.


The study uses novel data on adult respondents from three starting cohorts from the National Education Panel Study (NEPS): Starting Cohort 2 –Kindergarten (NEPS-SC2), Starting Cohort 5 –First-Year Students (NEPS-SC5) and Starting Cohort 6 –Adults (NEPS-SC6). Beginning in 2009, the six NEPS starting cohorts provide the largest long-term education study in Germany with detailed information on about 60,000 respondents born between 1944 and 2012. The applied data is based on a unique and innovative data set from three separate NEPS data sources: (1) rich panel data from scientific use files of the three NEPS starting cohorts, (2) recently collected consortium data of the three starting cohorts (SC2: B130_C1, SC5: B140_C1 and SC6: B145_C1), and (3) data from a supplementary online survey of all NEPS respondents on the COVID-19 pandemic (Corona_CAWI_C2, conducted Mai–June 2020). In this additional online survey, participants were asked about the direct consequences of the pandemic on their school, work, and family life. Based on a rich set of the individual-and household-level information of the respondents, these longitudinal data makes it possible to examine both current and retrospective-based differences in the pandemic-related care-arrangements.


The data of the starting cohorts are available under the following link:

The data of the Corona additional survey (NEPS-C data) will be made available promptly or at the latest within the framework of the proper files of the scientific usage files after the political processing and anonymization. The data will be free of charge and available on the website of the education panel.