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Is Covid-19 "The Great Leveler"? The Critical Role of Social Identity in Lockdown-induced Job Losses

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  • Deshpande, Ashwini
  • Ramachandran, Rajesh

Abstract

Using nationally representative panel data for 21,799 individuals between May 2018 and April 2020, this paper investigates whether the Covid-19 pandemic was indeed a "Great Leveler" in the sense that it imposed similar and equivalent labour market shocks on different caste groups. We find that while all caste groups lost jobs in the first month of the lockdown, the job losses for lowest-ranked caste are greater by factor of three. The data shows that the disproportionate effects stems from lower levels of human capital and over-representation in vulnerable jobs for the lowest ranked caste groups in the country.

Suggested Citation

  • Deshpande, Ashwini & Ramachandran, Rajesh, 2020. "Is Covid-19 "The Great Leveler"? The Critical Role of Social Identity in Lockdown-induced Job Losses," GLO Discussion Paper Series 622, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:622
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cho, Seung Jin & Winters, John V., 2020. "The Distributional Impacts of Early Employment Losses from COVID-19," GLO Discussion Paper Series 554, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. Ashwini Deshpande, 2020. "The Covid-19 Pandemic and Lockdown: First Effects on Gender Gaps in Employment and Domestic Work in India," Working Papers 30, Ashoka University, Department of Economics, revised 02 Jun 2020.
    3. Deshpande, Ashwini & Ramachandran, Rajesh, 2019. "Traditional hierarchies and affirmative action in a globalizing economy: Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 63-78.
    4. Tomaz Cajner & Leland D. Crane & Ryan A. Decker & John Grigsby & Adrian Hamins-Puertolas & Erik Hurst & Christopher Johann Kurz & Ahu Yildirmaz, 2020. "The U.S. Labor Market During the Beginning of the Pandemic Recession," Working Papers 2020-58_Revision, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Covid-19; lockdown; caste; employment; India;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General

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