Business and Economics > Economics: General

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Shinya Kotera and Jochen M. Schmittmann
This paper investigates labor market dynamics in Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic drawing on macro and micro data. The pandemic and related containment measures had a large negative impact on employment, labor force participation, earnings, and labor market mobility, although policy support through furlough schemes partially mitigated the rise in unemployment. Our results indicate that industry effects were a crucial driver of labor market outcomes for different groups of employees — women, younger age groups, nonregular, self-employed, and low-income workers accounted for a disproportional share of employment in the hardest hit industries. We also find empirical evidence for the need to improve childcare and related support, training and upskilling offerings, and teleworking availability, and the role of skill mismatches in reducing labor market mobility and resource reallocation.
Mr. Shekhar Aiyar and Mai Dao
Kurzarbeit (KA), Germany’s short-time work program, is widely credited with saving jobs and supporting domestic demand during the COVID-19 recession. We quantify the impact by exploiting state-level variation in exposure to the pandemic shock and KA take-up. We construct a shift-share measure of the labor demand shock and instrument KA take-up using the pre-existing, state-specific share of workers eligible for KA. We find, first, that KA was crucial in mitigating unemployment: absent its expansion the unemployment rate would have increased by an additional 3 pp on average at the trough of the recession. Second, KA also bolstered domestic demand: the contraction in consumption could have been 2 to 3 times larger absent the program. Finally, we provide preliminary evidence on the sensitivity of the medium-run reallocation of resources to the prevalence of jobretention schemes during the Global Financial Crisis.
Mr. John C Bluedorn, Mr. Francesco Caselli, Mr. Niels-Jakob H Hansen, Mr. Ippei Shibata, and Ms. Marina Mendes Tavares
Early evidence on the pandemic’s effects pointed to women’s employment falling disproportionately, leading observers to call a “she-cession.” This paper documents the extent and persistence of this phenomenon in a quarterly sample of 38 advanced and emerging market economies. We show that there is a large degree of heterogeneity across countries, with over half to two-thirds exhibiting larger declines in women’s than men’s employment rates. These gender differences in COVID-19’s effects are typically short-lived, lasting only a quarter or two on average. We also show that she-cessions are strongly related to COVID-19’s impacts on gender shares in employment within sectors.