In her ongoing COVID Inequality Project, University of Zurich Assistant Professor Teodora Boneva, an ECI network member, and co-authors are investigating the impact of the pandemic on labor market outcomes. The project is particularly concerned with how the pandemic and government policies are impacting inequality across many dimensions relating to workers, including age, gender, occupation, work arrangements, and education. Three survey waves have been distributed in the U.S., UK, and Germany respectively in order to collect responses from large geographically representative samples.
Boneva, along with her co-authors Abi Adams-Prassl, Marta Golin, and Christopher Rauh, found that job loss was much less likely for those with occupations that can be done remotely for all three countries. Even within occupations, those who can do more tasks from home were less likely to lose their job due to the pandemic. Additionally, individuals in more stable work relationships, such as salaried or permanent workers, are much less likely to have lost their job. The findings bring up a stark contrast in the labor market between the U.S. and the UK as compared to Germany, where only 5 percent of people have lost their jobs. The survey results also note that 46 percent (U.S.), 38 percent (UK) and 32 percent (Germany) of people have already struggled in paying their usual bills.
The authors aim to inform policymakers, academics, and the general public about the impact of these dramatic developments and the recovery on different groups of society as a result of the pandemic. They also predict that within the next four months, the average perceived probability of losing one’s job is 37 percent in the U.S., 32 percent in the UK, and 25 percent in Germany, for workers who are still employed. The project has been featured in a number of media outlets, including The Economist, Quartz, and The Guardian.
You can read more about Boneva’s current research at covidinequalityproject.com.