Interdisciplinary Lunch Time Seminar Series on “Corona – Leveller or Amplifier of Social and Economic Inequality?”

hosted by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB)

Start: 10 May 2021

End: 31 Dec 2021

  • Abstracts | Bonaccolto-Töpfer | Oktober 27, 2021

    Bonaccolto-Töpfer, M.

    A threat to higher education?

    Transition to online teaching during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to various concerns about educational quality. This paper looks at effects on an Italian university. Administrative data allows us to track both students’ evaluation of teaching and student performance. Using a difference-in-differences design, we exploit that the summer term 2020 started right after the first lockdown and compare outcomes during this term to those of the same term in previous years. In contrast to the literature, our results suggest no substantial effects on higher education in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown.

  • Abstracts | Mühlemann et al. | Oktober 11, 2021

    Mühlemann S., Pfeifer H,. Wittek B.

    The effect of business cycle expectations on the German apprenticeship market: Estimating the impact of Covid-19

    The Covid-19 pandemic is fundamentally altering outlooks in many parts of society. With the immediate health implications playing out across the globe, the economic impact is starting to show in labor markets as well. The effects of the expected downturn are likely to be felt differently across industries and segments of the population. In past crises, especially the young have suffered (see, e.g., Bell & Blanchflower, 2011), albeit with marked differences between countries. In 2010, as much of the world was dealing with what has been termed the Great Recession, the unemployment rate for the youngest labor market cohort (15-24 year-olds) mounted to 41.6% in Spain, but was only at 9.9% in Germany (European Commission, 2012).

    As researchers and policy makers seek explanations for such stark disparities, the use of apprenticeship systems, with a significant amount of on-the-job training, has frequently moved to the front. To what extent are such programs subject to the ups and downs of the economy and can they add to the resilience of a labor market during crises, for example, by facilitating the transition from school to full-time employment? To answer such questions, we direct our attention towards the impact of business cycle developments on the demand for apprentices. If such vocational education and training (VET) programs appear more robust to economic downturns, they may plausibly play a larger role in supporting the labor market as a whole.

    Thus far, research has outlined theoretical possibilities for both pro-cyclical effects, largely driven by reduced staffing needs during an economic downturn, as well as counter-cyclical outcomes, caused, for example, by lowered opportunity costs of training during less productive periods. Most empirical studies so far suggest a pro-cyclical, but small to moderate effect (see, e.g., Dietrich and Gerner 2007, Mühlemann, Wolter, & Wüest, 2009). Furthermore, what matters in this regard, especially during more pronounced economic crises, seems to be more the longer term outlook, not the specific effect a downturn has on an individual company (Bellmann, Gerner, & Leber, 2014).

    We seek to build on these prior findings and investigate how company expectations about business cycle developments influence apprenticeship provision and how Covid-19 affects apprentice market outcomes through changes in the business cycle expectations of firms. Subsequently, we attempt to project the likely short-term impact of Covid-19 on the German apprenticeship system in 2021, based on currently available information. Expectations about business cycle developments are measured through the ifo Business Climate Index (BCI), a monthly survey among German firms, that provide particularly current and useful insights into company expectations about the business cycle (Sauer & Wohlrabe, 2020; Wohlrabe, 2018).

    As German firms typically offer apprenticeships to either fill future skilled worker positions, or as a substitute for other types of labor, the current coronavirus crisis has an ongoing negative impact on the German economy in 2021. To the extent that the training decision of a firm depends on its perception of the business cycle, we expect a downward shift in firm demand for apprentices and consequently also a decrease in the equilibrium number of apprenticeship contracts. To assess the impact of changes in business cycle expectations, we analyze German data on the apprenticeship market at the state-level and at the occupation-level within states from September 2011 to September 2020.

    We apply first-differences regressions to account for unobserved heterogeneity across states and occupations, allowing us to identify the association between changes in business cycle expectations (as measured by the ifo Business Climate 3 Index) and subsequent changes in the demand for apprentices, and the number of new apprenticeship contracts. We find that the coronavirus-related decrease in firms’ expectations about the business cycle accounts for an 8.7% decrease in firm demand for apprentices and a 7.5% decrease in the number of new apprenticeship positions in Germany compared to 2019. Moreover, we also analyze heterogeneity at sector-level, as macroeconomic shocks (and lockdown rules) did not affect all sectors evenly.

    We also make use of the IAB establishment panel and analyze the association between business expectations and a firm’s demand for apprentices as the level of the establishment. An advantage of our estimation approach is that we can estimate timely out-of-sample predictions about the development of the apprenticeship market based on current business cycle expectations, which are likely to fluctuate over the coming months due to uncertainty about the speed of the vaccination process and possible (travel) restrictions due the pandemic.

  • Presentation | Mühlemann et al. | Oktober 11, 2021

  • Abstracts | Grewing et al. | Oktober 04, 2021

    Grewenig E., Lergetporer P., Werner K., Woessmann L., Zierow L.

    COVID-19 and Educational Inequality: How School Closures Affect Low- and High-Achieving Students

    In spring 2020, governments around the globe shut down schools to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. We argue that low-achieving students may be particularly affected by the lack of educator support during school closures. We collect detailed time-use information on students before and during the school closures in a survey of 1,099 parents in Germany.

    We find that while students on average reduced their daily learning time of 7.4 hours by about half, the reduction was significantly larger for low-achievers (4.1 hours) than for high-achievers (3.7 hours). Low-achievers disproportionately replaced learning time with detrimental activities such as TV or computer games rather than with activities more conducive to child development. The learning gap was not compensated by parents or schools who provided less support for low-achieving students.

  • Presentation | Jacob et al. | September 29, 2021

  • Abstracts | Jacob et al. | September 29, 2021

    Jacob, M., Knize, V., Tobler, L., Christoph, B., Fervers, L.

    Workin’ moms ain’t doing so bad: Evidence on the gender gap in working hours at the outset of the COVID-19pandemic

    Objective: In this project, we study changes in the working hours of men and women with and without children in the early phase of the COVID-19 crisis in Germany until August 2020. Background: The  COVID-19  outbreak  in  Europe  led  to  a  sharp  decrease  in  economic activity,  along  with  temporary  closures  of  childcare  facilities  and  schools. Subsequent changes  in  working  hours  in  the  early  phase  of  the  pandemic  and  during  summer  2020 may have contributed to inequalities between men and women or parents and non-parents respectively. Method: We use a unique panel dataset containing monthly survey data of the Institute for Employment Research (the IAB-HOPP) combined with administrative data of the German Federal Employment Agency.

    We run regression models with the change in working hours (before the crisis vs. working time at each panel wave) as the dependent variable and gender, parental status, and childcare arrangement as the main independent variables. Results: We observe a comparable reduction in working hours for both men and women during the spring lockdown.

    However, only the working hours of women recover and return to  their  pre-crisis  level  in  summer  2020.  Most  surprisingly,  having  children  has  an accelerating effect on recovery for mothers but not for fathers. At the end of the observation period, fathers do not recover as fully as mothers do. Conclusion: These results challenge concerns about a temporary or possibly persistent ‘re-traditionalisation’ of gender roles during the COVID-19 crisis

  • Presentation | Tertilt et al. | September 29, 2021

  • Abstracts | Tertilt et al. | September 29, 2021

    Tertilt, M., Alon, T., Coskun, S., Doepke, M., Koll, M., 

    From Mancession to Shecession: Women’s Employment in Regular and Pandemic Recessions

    We examine the impact of the global recession triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic on women's versus men's employment. Whereas recent recessions in advanced economies usually had a disproportionate impact on men's employment, giving rise to the moniker "mancessions," we show that the pandemic recession of 2020 was a "shecession" in most countries with larger employment declines among women.

    We examine the causes behind this pattern using micro data from several national labor force surveys, and show that both the composition of women's employment across industries and occupations as well as increased childcare needs during closures of schools and daycare centers made important contributions. While many countries exhibit similar patterns, we also emphasize how policy choices such as furloughing policies and the extent of school closures shape the pandemic's impact on the labor market.

    Another notable finding is the central role of telecommuting: gender gaps in the employment impact of the pandemic arise almost entirely among workers who are unable to work from home. Nevertheless, among telecommuters a different kind of gender gap arises: women working from home during the pandemic spent more work time also doing childcare and experienced greater productivity reductions than men. We discuss what our findings imply for gender equality in a post-pandemic labor market that will likely continue to be characterized by pervasive telecommuting.


  • Abstracts | Adamopoulou & Villanueva | September 27, 2021

    Adamopoulou, E. & Villanueva, E.

    Staggered  Contracts  and Unemployment during Recessions

    We study the impact of downward wage rigidity on employment flows on the onset of three recessions over the last 30 years in Spain. Downward wage rigidity stems from province-industry level collective agreements, which are automatically extended to all firms, setting minimum wages for workers in the same province-industry-skill cell. We identify the impact of wage rigidity on employment because, unlike settled ones, wages in newly negotiated agreements can in theory adjust to aggregate shocks.

    We show that agreements signed after the onset of the 1992 recession, after the fall of the Lehman Brothers in 2008, and after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, settled for a 1-2 pp lower average wage growth than the agreements signed before. Using Social Security data and exploiting the variation in the expiration of collective contracts in a difference-in-differences framework we find that the probability of job loss and of being unemployed in the two years following the 1992 and 2008 recessions is 1% higher among workers, whose collective agreements were not able to adjust.

    Job destruction is entirely driven by workers with pre-recession earnings close to the negotiated minimum wages, while there is little evidence of differential job creation by signature date. Using Labour Force Survey data in a similar setting we find that the probability of short time work is 2% higher among workers, whose collective contracts were not able to adjust during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the staggering of collective contracts and the inability to renegotiate amplify aggregate shocks.

  • Presentation | Derndorfer et al. | September 20, 2021

  • Abstracts | Derndorfer et al. | September 20, 2021

    Derndorfer, J., Disslbacher, F., Lechinger, V., Mader K., Six, E.

    Home, sweet home? The impact of working from home on the division of unpaid work during the COVID-19 lockdown

    A lockdown implies a shift from the public to the private sphere, and from market to non-market production, thereby increasing the volume of unpaid work. Already before the pandemic, unpaid work was disproportionately borne by women. This paper studies the effect of working from home for pay (WFH), due to a lockdown, on the change in the division of housework and childcare within couple households.

    While previous studies on the effect of WFH on the reconciliation of work and family life and the division of labour within the household suffered from selection bias, we are able to identify this effect by drawing upon the shock of the first COVID-19 lockdown in Austria. The corresponding legal measures left little choice over WFH. In any case, WFH is exogenous, conditional on a small set of individual and household characteristics we control for. We employ data from a survey on the gendered aspects of the lockdown. The dataset includes detailed information on time use during the lockdown and on the quality and experience of WFH. Uniquely, this survey data also includes information on the division, and not only magnitude, of unpaid work within households.

    Austria is an interesting case in this respect as it is characterized by very conservative gender norms. The results reveal that the probability of men taking on a larger share of housework increases if men are WFH alone or together with their female partner. By contrast, the involvement of men in childcare increased only in the event that the female partner was not able to WFH. Overall, the burden of childcare, and particularly homeschooling, was disproportionately borne by women.

  • Presentation | Illing | July 28, 2021

  • Abstract | Illing et al. | July 28, 2021

    Illing, H., Michael O., Pestel N., Schmieder J., Trenkle S.

    The Impact of Job Disruptions on Households During the Covid-19 Pandemic


    We study the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on employment, time use, and life satisfaction with a special focus on gender differences and the role of (young) children in the household. We use unique data from Germany, combining administrative data on employment histories with rich survey information. We find that female-dominated sectors (e.g., hospitality and entertainment) were most affected by employment losses resulting from Covid-19 lockdowns.

    Our event study regressions show that mothers of younger children significantly increased their time spent in childcare, and more so than fathers (8 vs. 5 hours per week). Hours spent at work decreased by a smaller amount, meaning that overall labor time (work combined with household duties) substantially increased. In line with the increased time burden, life satisfaction declined more strongly among mothers than among other groups.


  • Presentation | Breznau | July 21, 2021

  • Abstract | Nate Breznau | July 21, 2021

    Breznau, N.,

    "The Role of Social Policy in Public Perceptions, Behaviors and Infection Rates in the COVID-19 Pandemic"


    We test if welfare state strength has an impact on infection rates across countries during the first wave of the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (roughly Jan.-Aug., 2020). We measure welfare state strength as a scale of social spending and percent of the labor force covered and enter this variable into a structural equation model based on a theory of the various causal processes influencing infection rates.

    Given the uncertainty associated with national-level indicators, we also analyze disposable income inequality, GDP per capita and level of democracy. We also adjust our tests for reported cases, media sentiment, public risk perceptions, public precautionary behaviors and government pandemic intervention. We test if welfare states have direct and indirect effects through behaviors and risk perceptions, on infection rates. We use a wide range of data sources covering between 79 and 203 countries. To exploit as much information as possible we use pairwise covariance matrices to test our models. 

    In our best fitting model, we find that welfare state strength increases daily infection rates by about 6 cases per million. Only a fraction of this is due to indirect effects, and the overall effect size is small with a standardized regression coefficient (“Z”) of 0.04. Stronger welfare states predict far lower risk perceptions (Z  = -0.40) but increased precautionary behaviors (Z = -0.15). The complexity of the relationships cannot be understated, and the findings only marginally support our theory that stronger welfare states could lead people to greater risk of infection in a pandemic.

  • Presentation | Christl et al. | July 14, 2021

  • Abstract | Christl et al. | July 14, 2021

  • Abstract | Christl et al. | July 14, 2021

    Christl, M., De Poli, S., Kucsera, D, Lorenz, H.

    Covid-19 and (gender) inequality in income: The impact of discretionary policy measures in Austria


    "This paper analyzes the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on household income in Austria, using detailed administrative labor market data, in combination with micro-simulation techniques, that enable specific labor market transitions to be modeled. We find that discretionary fiscal policy measures in Austria are key to counteracting the inequality- and poverty-enhancing effect of COVID-19. Additionally, we find that females tend to experience a greater loss in terms of market income. The Austrian tax-benefit system, however, reduces this gender differences. Disposable income has dropped by around 1% for both males and females. By comparison, males profit mainly from short-time work scheme, while females profit especially from other discretionary policy measures, such as the one-off payment for children."

  • Presentation | Lohmann & Wang | July 07, 2021

  • Abstract | Lohmann & Wang | July 07, 2021

    Lohmann, H. & Wang, H.

    How does the COVID-19 pandemic change welfare attitudes in Germany? An empirical analysis using panel data


    The overarching question of our study is if there is increased general welfare support to compensate for the new uncertainties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Using panel data, we analyse how public welfare attitudes have changed. In addition, we use infection and unemployment rates to account for the severity of the pandemic as well as its economic impact at regional level. In our main analysis, we focus on the first phase of the pandemic (March and June/July 2020). In an outlook section, we present empirical findings with additional data collected in April 2021 on potential longer-term consequences of the pandemic on welfare attitudes.

    In summary, our results show small changes in welfare attitudes, but we do not find evidence for increased public support for general social policy measures. Furthermore, we interpret the changes in welfare attitudes as induced by the pandemic in form of a general shock. The changes over time could hardly be traced back to individual factors such as employment changes and direct COVID-19 affectedness or regional factors such as infection or unemployment rates.

  • Presentation | Zimpelmann et al. | July 05, 2021

  • Abstract | Zimpelmann et al. | July 05, 2021

    Zimpelmann, C., von Gaudecker, H.-M., Holler, R., Janys, L., Siflinger, B.

    Drivers of working hours and household income dynamics during the CoViD-19 pandemic: The case of the Netherlands.


    Using customized panel data spanning the entire year of 2020, we analyze the dynamics of working hours and household income across different stages of the CoVid-19 pandemic. Similar to many other countries, during this period the Netherlands experienced a quick spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, adopted a set of fairly strict social distancing measures, gradually reopened, and imposed another lockdown to contain the second wave. We show that socio-economic status is strongly related to changes in working hours, especially when strict economic restrictions are in place. In contrast, household income is equally unaffected for all socio-economic groups. Examining the drivers of these observations, we find that pandemic-specific job characteristics (the ability to work from home and essential worker status) explain most of the socio-economic gradient in total working hours. Furthermore, household income is largely decoupled from shocks to working hours for employees. We provide suggestive evidence that large-scale labor hoarding schemes have helped insure employees against demand shocks to their employees.

  • Presentation | Le Blanc & Thiemann | June 30, 2021

  • Abstract | Le Blanc & Thiemann | June 30, 2021

    Le Blanc, J., Thiemann, A. 

    The Covid-19 crisis and the financial buffers of households in Europe 


    We study the distributional impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the financial vulnerability of households across all EU Member States. Combining macroeconomic employment estimates with a micro simulation model based on a realistic calibration that incorporates the sector-specific impact on employment and incomes, we calculate the effects of the pandemic on households’ disposable incomes. We find that young households and those in the bottom 40% of the income distribution are hardest hit by the crisis. Also, households working in the accommodation and food services sector and those who have to service their debts are in danger of depleting their financial buffers quickly. The resilience of the household sector to economic shocks such as the current pandemic also matters for macroeconomic and financial stability as it is related to the size of cuts in consumption expenditure and the likelihood of non-performing loans.


    Keywords: financial buffers, saving, employment

    JEL Codes: D14, D31, G51

  • Presentation | Herzog-Stein et al. | June 23, 2021

  • Abstract | Herzog-Stein et al. | June 23, 2021

    For access to the paper click here


    Herzog-Stein, A., Nüß, P., Peede, L., Stein, U.



    We analyse measures of internal flexibility taken to safeguard employment during the Coronavirus Crisis in comparison to the Great Recession. Cyclical working-time reductions are again a major factor in safeguarding employment. Whereas during the Great Recession all working-time instruments contributed to the reduction in working time, short-time work now accounts for almost all of the working-time reduction. Short-time work was more rapidly extended, more generous, and for the first time a stronger focus was put on securing household income on a broad basis. Still, the current crisis is more severe and affects additional sectors of the economy where low-wage earners are affected more frequently by short-time work and suffered on average relatively greater earnings losses. A hypothetical average short-time worker had a relative income loss in April 2020 that was more than twice as large as that in May 2009. Furthermore, marginal employment is affected strongly but not protected by short-time work.

  • Presentation | Dubois et al. | June 21, 2021

  • Abstract | Dubois et al. | June 21, 2021

    Dubois, H., Nivakoski, S., Fóti, K., Patrini, V., Mascherini, M.

    The impact of COVID-19 on living conditions of older people, and their care needs


    Europe’s population is ageing. The COVID-19 health crisis has hit this growing group of older people particularly badly, with high rates of hospitalisations and deaths among this group. Older people were also more often faced the pandemic’s impact on healthcare and long-term care services, for which they generally have larger needs. The COVID-19 crisis has hit younger people more in other ways, including in their mental health, work, and challenges to cope with the social distancing restrictions.

    This research maps the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on various aspects of life of older people in the EU: physical and mental wellbeing, social life, employment, finances and deprivation, care provision and volunteering, as well as use of and need for care and support services. It also provides examples of policy measures that address the negative impacts of the pandemic on older people’s lives.

    The research draws on analysis of cross-national surveys, mainly: Eurofound’s only Living, working and COVID-19 survey, and of SHARE COVID-19. These survey analyses are complemented by findings from national surveys where they provide further insights, and evidence from national reports and administrative data. Most national evidence and policy measures has been identified by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents. This was complemented by Eurofound’s literature review and desk research, and expert input desk research.

  • Abstract | Schleicher | June 7, 2021

    For access to the paper click here


    Schleicher, A.

    The State of School Education: One Year into the COVID Pandemic


    In 2020, 1.5 billion students in 188 countries/economies were locked out of their schools. Students everywhere have been faced with schools that are open one day and closed the next, causing massive disruption to their learning. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still raging, many education systems are still struggling, and the situation is constantly evolving.

    The OECD – in collaboration with UNESCO, UNICEF and The World Bank – has been monitoring the situation across countries and collecting data on how each system is responding to the crisis, from school closures and remote learning, to teacher vaccination and gradual returns to in-class instruction. This report presents the preliminary findings from this survey, providing a snapshot of the situation one year into the COVID crisis.

  • Abstract | Anger et al. | June 7, 2021

    Anger, S., Bernhard, S., Dietrich, H., Patzina A., Sandner, M.

    The wellbeing of German high school students in the transition from high school to post-secondary education during the COVID-19 pandemic


    Previous research unambiguously shows that period shocks influence educational decisions (e.g., Salazar et al. 2020; Witteveen 2021). Moreover, first insights on the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic indicate negative consequences of uncertainty on individuals’ subjective well-being. Against the background, that health constitutes a pivotal resource in the individual status attainment process (Haas 2006) the important question emerges whether the COVID-19 pandemic affects the subjective well-being of students in the transition from high school to post-secondary education. This paper addresses the outlined research question in evaluating the impact of COVID-19 policy measures on subjective well-being of high-school students in their final grades.

    For this purpose, we use a unique panel data collection, which surveyed around 6,000 students from two “Abitur” cohorts (a cohort graduating in 2020 and another cohort graduating in 2021). We have for the same students information about life satisfaction and self-rated health in three waves, before (fall 2019), close after (spring 2020), and several months after (fall 2020) the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, the data from spring 2020 and fall 2020 comprise information on mental health (Hopkins Symptom Checklist; Derogatis et al. 1974). We use variation within the second survey wave, as some students responded to the survey before and some students after the school closures, to apply a difference-in-differences design that allows evaluating the immediate effect of school closures on subjective well-being. To elaborate on long run effects, we employ random effect growth curve models.

    Our results suggest that school closures had no negative immediate effect on subjective well-being. In contrast, we find slight indications for “holiday” effects. In the long run, however, our results indicate a strong decline in subjective well-being. This decline is mainly concentrated among the “Abitur” cohort 2021. Results from mediation analyses, which account for important confounders (e.g., detailed socio-economic status, risk aversion, personality traits, and self-efficacy), reveal that worries about the occupational future (i.e. uncertainty about the next educational steps) account for the major part of the gap between individuals who already left the school system and who are still school students. Thus, our results support the notion of lock-in effects that are detrimental to the subjective well-being of school students.

  • Abstract | Adu Ababio et al. | May 19,2021

    Adu-Ababio, K., Barnes, H., Gasior, K., Jara, X. H., Jouste, M., Lastunen, J., McLennan, D., Noble, M., Pirttilä, J., Rattenhuber, P., Richiardi, M., Wright, G.

    To the rescue? The mitigating role of tax and benefit rescue packages for poverty and inequality in Africa amid the COVID-19 pandemic


    The COVID-19 pandemic presents a virtually unprecedented challenge to many developing countries, including most African nations. With their minimal social protection schemes and weak healthcare systems, these countries are particularly exposed to the virus. While implementing effective policy responses is challenging due to the constrained fiscal space faced by most African governments, appropriate emergency income support measures and tax waivers are critical in limiting the economic hardships resulting from COVID.

    We analyze the distributional effects of the pandemic in Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, using detailed tax-benefit microsimulation models. Our research offers insights into the economic impact of the crisis in 2020 and the effectiveness of COVID-related tax and benefit policies in alleviating the adverse effects on people’s livelihoods. Our main contribution comes from developing nuanced impact estimates of increases in poverty and inequality that have resulted from the pandemic, along with detailed decomposition of the sources of these effects.

    While the research is in progress, our preliminary results lend support to modest growth in consumption-based poverty across the five countries studied, while also pointing to notable heterogeneity in impacts across countries. In most countries, income losses also fell on higher income households. Across all countries studied, automatic stabilizers only had a limited role in mitigating losses of disposable income.

    Our forthcoming work will take advantage of new empirical data to improve the modelling of labor market transitions across countries and unpack the contribution of emergency income support measures in alleviating the adverse effects on inequality and poverty.


    Authors | Institutions:

    Kwabena Adu-Ababio, University of Helsinki; United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)

    Helen Barnes, Southern African Social Policy Research Institute (SASPRI)

    Katrin Gasior, Southern African Social Policy Research Institute (SASPRI); University of Essex

    H. Xavier Jara, University of Essex

    Maria Jouste, University of Turku; United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)

    Jesse Lastunen, United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)

    David McLennan, Southern African Social Policy Research Institute (SASPRI)

    Michael Noble, Southern African Social Policy Research Institute (SASPRI)

    Jukka Pirttilä, University of Helsinki; United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER); VATT Institute for Economic Research

    Pia Rattenhuber, United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)

    Matteo Richiardi, University of Essex

    Gemma Wright, Southern African Social Policy Research Institute (SASPRI)

  • Abstract | Katja Möhring | May 10, 2021

    Möhring, K.

    Inequality in employment trajectories and their socio-economic consequences during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany


    The study examines inequalities in employment trajectories during the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Germany using weekly individual-level panel data from 20 March to 25 June 2020. By means of sequence analysis, we examine the risks and dynamics of short-time work, furlough, job loss, and working from home, and analyse how patterns of employment trajectories vary between socio-demographic groups. Finally, we relate the types of employment trajectories to changes in income and subjective job security. Our results show clear gradients in employment risks: low-wage workers were severely affected by furlough and job loss; compared to previous crises service sector and female employees were more affected by short-time work, with, however, different timing and duration than male workers in manufacturing. Income loss was pronounced among those who became unemployed and those continuously in short-term work, decreases in subjective job security where common—also among those working from home.


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