The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic for inequality

We are studying the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Israeli workers.

We are particularly interested in understanding:

1) If and how the outbreak of the coronavirus and workplace response to government policies have differently affected jobs and workers across the Israeli economy?

2) What are the consequences of the outbreak of the coronavirus and workplace response to government policies to employment and income inequality by gender, race, ethnicity, and class?

3) How computer usages at work mediate such effects?

4) How labor market institutions and workplace features moderate such effects?

5) How do changes in government policies and workplaces practices over the next two years will affect jobs and workers across the Israeli economy?

Preliminary results from a special wave (fourth) of the survey (1 week into the 2nd lockdown, September 2020)

Six month after the first lockdown in March, Israel entered a second lockdown on September 18, 2020. The recovery of the Israeli labor force has stopped, with negative signs emerging.

The second lockdown in September has affected more severely the self-employed (Figure 1), Arab men (Figure 2), Jewish women (Figure 3), the 18-24 age group (Figure 6), and those from the lowest three quintiles (Figure 7).

Data for this preliminary report are based on a special short wave (4) of a longitudinal survey of 1,432 respondents out of the 2,027 original sample (71%). Attrition from wave 2 to wave 4 was 13%, and attrition from wave 3 to wave 4 was 11%. 1,248 respondents participated in all four waves, representing 62% of the original sample.

Preliminary results from the third wave of the survey (August 2020)

Five month after the first lockdown in March, the recovery of the Israeli labor market is impressive, yet fragile (by September 18 a second lockdown begun) and not equal.

The gaps between the employees and the self employed has widen in August (Figure 1). Also national (Figures 2-3) and gender (Figures 4-5) inequalities have increased by August. At the same time, inequality in employment status by earnings quintiles in March seem to equalize (Figure 7).

Data for this preliminary report are based on wave 3 of a longitudinal survey of 1,433 respondents out of the 2,027 original sample (71%). From the 1,614 who participated in the second wave, response rate was 86%. 1,391 respondents participated in all three waves (69%).

Preliminary results from the second wave of the survey (June 2020)

The economic crisis following the Coronavirus pandemic continues to hit hard the most vulnerable, and to widen the already very wide economic gaps between workers and groups of workers in Israel.

By June, employees and self-employed have resumed employment, but many were still on unpaid leave, unemployed, or closed down their businesses (Figure 1). The self-employed (Figure 1), Arabs (Figure 2), and those in the lowest income quintiles (Figure 4) are still slow to return working.

As was the situation in April, also by June those at the lowest income quintiles continued to be the main losers of this crisis (Figure 4). Unlike the situation in April, when Israeli Jews and Arabs were nearly equally affected by the closure of the economy, by June Israeli Arabs were much slower than Israeli Jews to return working. In both of these populations, moreover, women are worst of when compared to men.

It seems that the consequences of this crisis for economic and social inequality will stay with us months, if not years, ahead.

Data for this preliminary report are based on wave 2 of a longitudinal survey of 1,614 out of 2,027 (80% response rate) adult Israeli (age 18+) that were employed or were self-employed in the first weak of March, prior to the closure of the economy. This wave includes information on employment and job characteristics of Israeli households in June and is added to data from wave 1 on employment characteristics in the first week of march (prior to the crisis) and also on the last week of April (after the economy was shut down).

Figure 1: Changes in employment status, March thru June

Figure 2: Changes in employment status among employees, by gender and nationality

Figure 3: Changes in employment status among employees, by are groups

Figure 4: Changes in employment status among employees, by income quintiles


Preliminary results from the first wave of the survey (Early March and End of April, 2020)

The economic crisis following the Coronavirus pandemic hit hard in Israel, and many workers were affected. This crisis is also expected to widen the already very wide economic gaps between workers and groups of workers in Israel.

Following the closure of the economy in the middle of March, 2020, many lost their jobs and businesses. Israel has adopted a unique policy in this new and unprecedented situation, and encourage employers to send their employees to an unpaid leave (Figure 1). Women (Figure 2) and the 18-24 age group (Figure 3) were hit the hardest.

Among the employees, those who suffered the most economically were the low paid employees (Figure 4), employees in small establishments (Figure 5), and employees with precocious employment relationships (Figure 6-7). By contrast, unionized employees (Figure 8), and those using computers at work (Figure 9), were less affected by the shut down of the economy.

It is likely that the consequences of this crisis for economic and social inequality will stay with us months, if not years, ahead, as the most vulnerable employees anticipate significant pay cuts in their salaries in the future (Figures 10-11).

Data for this study are based on wave 1 of a longitudinal survey of 2000 adult Israeli (age 18+) that were employed or were self-employed in the first weak of March, prior to the closure of the economy. The survey was carried by Panel4all research service company, based on their internet panel of tens of thousand Israeli panelist. This wave includes information on employment and job characteristics of Israeli households in the first week of march (prior to the crisis) and also on the last week of April (after the economy was shut down). A bi-monthly survey will follow this panel for the next two years.

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