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Reforming the School Schedule: an Indicator of Inequality in the Labour Market?

Abstract : France's 2013 reform of the school schedule, which reallocated a half day of classes to Wednesday morning for students in kindergarten and primary schools, is a small revolution in the organisation of time in the French society. This policy brief demonstrates that the school schedule not only has an impact on children's learning, but also influences women's labour supply decisions. The French setting reveals the presence of two types of inequality in the labour market: inequality between women and men, and inequality between highly educated and low-educated women. Before the 2013 reform, women whose youngest child was in primary school were twice as likely as men not to work on Wednesday, and thus to adjust their work schedule to that of their children. In addition, the decision to work on Wednesday was correlated to women's level of education, as mothers with a university degree were less likely to work on Wednesday than women without a university degree, although they worked more hours on average per week. The re-organisation of the school schedule resulting from the 2013 reform induced mothers to restructure their working schedule too: while, at least in the short term, the reform did not affect the number of hours worked per week, it enabled more women to work on Wednesday, resulting in a 15% reduction in the Wednesday gap with men in less than two years. • Children's school schedule directly influence how women organize their working schedule, which is not the case for men. • Not all women can have a flexible working schedule: prior to 2013, mothers with a university degree were more likely not to work on Wednesday than those with at most a high-school degree (45% vs. 41%), even though they worked more hours per week (36 hours vs. 33 hours). • The 2013 reform of the school schedule has given mothers an opportunity to re-allocate their working time: without increasing their number of hours worked per week, it has led to an increase in the percentage of women working on Wednesday, reducing the gap between women and men along this dimension by 15%.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02537520
Contributor : Caroline Bauer <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 9:59:19 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:08:58 AM

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Emma Duchini, Clémentine van Effenterre. Reforming the School Schedule: an Indicator of Inequality in the Labour Market?. 2017. ⟨halshs-02537520⟩

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