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COVID-19: a crisis of the female self-employed

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  • Graeber, Daniel
  • Kritikos, Alexander S.
  • Seebauer, Johannes

Abstract

We investigate how the economic consequences of the pandemic, and of the governmentmandated measures to contain its spread, affect the self-employed – particularly women – in Germany. For our analysis, we use representative, real-time survey data in which respondents were asked about their situation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings indicate that among the self-employed, who generally face a higher likelihood of income losses due to COVID-19 than employees, women are 35% more likely to experience income losses than their male counterparts. Conversely, we do not find a comparable gender gap among employees. Our results further suggest that the gender gap among the self-employed is largely explained by the fact that women disproportionately work in industries that are more severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our analysis of potential mechanisms reveals that women are significantly more likely to be impacted by government-imposed restrictions, i.e. the regulation of opening hours. We conclude that future policy measures intending to mitigate the consequences of such shocks should account for this considerable variation in economic hardship.

Suggested Citation

  • Graeber, Daniel & Kritikos, Alexander S. & Seebauer, Johannes, 2021. "COVID-19: a crisis of the female self-employed," GLO Discussion Paper Series 788, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:788
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    4. Robert Fairlie & Frank M. Fossen, 2022. "The early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on business sales," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 58(4), pages 1853-1864, April.
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    6. Marco Caliendo & Daniel Graeber & Alexander S. Kritikos & Johannes Seebauer, 2022. "Pandemic Depression: COVID-19 and the Mental Health of the Self-Employed," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 2002, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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    9. Joern Block & Alexander S. Kritikos & Maximilian Priem & Caroline Stiel, 2020. "Emergency Aid for Self-Employed in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Flash in the Pan?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1924, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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    13. Scott, Douglas & Freund, Richard & Favara, Marta & Porter, Catherine & Sanchez, Alan, 2021. "Unpacking the Post-lockdown Employment Recovery of Young Women in the Global South," IZA Discussion Papers 14829, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-employed; COVID-19; income; gender; representative real-time survey data; decomposition methods;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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