COVID Inequality Project

Objectives of our project:

  • We are documenting the impact of the pandemic on workers. We are particularly interested in understanding how the outbreak of Covid-19 and government policies are impacting inequality across many dimensions, such as age, gender, occupation, work arrangements, and education.

  • We provide downloadable data and questionnaires in the Resources section.

  • We have already launched three survey waves collecting responses from large geographically representative samples in the US and UK and one survey wave in Germany.

  • In April, 15% (UK) and 18% (US) of workers in our sample that were in employment four weeks ago had already lost their job due to COVID-19. Individuals are worried about being able to pay their usual bills and expenses. 46% (US), 38% (UK) and 32% (Germany) already had struggled to pay their usual bills

  • We find a stark contrast between the US and the UK compared to Germany where only 5% have lost their job.

  • Lockdown measures in the US have a significant negative impact on women's mental health.

  • Our goal is to inform the policy, academic, and public community about the impact of these dramatic developments and the recovery on different groups of society.

Job loss probability depending on tasks that can be done from home

Tasks done from home:

  • Job loss was much less likely for those that can do work from home.

Share of tasks that can be done from home by industry and occupation

Tasks done from home:

  • Mean share of tasks that can be done from home varies a lot across industries and occupations

Systematic variation of share of tasks that can be done from home within occupations

Tasks done from home:

  • Even within occupations those can do more tasks from home were less likely to loose their job due to the pandemic

Job loss probability depending on individual income in 2019


  • Those with lower income last year have been more likely to lose their job due to Covid-19

Furloughed vs. job loss vs. employed by occupation


  • Not only the differences in losing jobs is very different across occupations but also the probability of having been furloughed

  • 53% of furloughed workers in US lost their health insurance coverage

Job loss probability depending on work arrangement

Type of contract:

  • Those in more stable work relationships, such as salaried or permanent workers, are much less likely to have lost their job

Hours spent per day on children amongst parents that also spent time working from home

Gender inequality:

  • Women in all three countries spent more time on active childcare and home schooling than men


  • Workers expect to earn 36% (UK) and 37% (US) less in the next four months compared to usual.

  • The average perceived probability of losing one’s job within the next months is 37% (US), 32% (UK), and 25% (Germany) for workers who are still employed.