Necessary responses to the COVID-19 pandemic raise potentially harmful consequences for children’s development that can exacerbate inequality gaps and have long-reaching implications. This commentary will focus on what research can tell us about the key features of skill development and how the situations driving parental choices bear a significant role in development and inequality that are likely affected by the consequences of the pandemic. Further, effective support for parents and child development must also include intersecting factors from homes, neighbourhoods, and schools in both the research and development of policy. The primary message from the evidence base is that where inequality is high there is a much greater risk from shocks, such as the pandemic, to deepen inequality in skill development through factors in the home, neighbourhoods, and schools. It suggests that policy will not be effective through only a focus on what happens in schools but will require balancing multiple, and potentially competing, channels. Moreover, it suggests a renewed focus on reducing the prevalence of children living in low income households in order to improve attainment.


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Congreve, E. & Norris, J. 2020, 'The economics of parenting: children and inequality in a time of shutdown', Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary, 44(2). https://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/74641/

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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