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

  • We have collected additional data in the UK in 2021 which is being analyzed.

  • We find a stark contrast between the US and the UK compared to Germany where only few lost their job when the pandemic unfolded.

  • Lockdown measures in the US had 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.

Access to Sick Pay:

  • Acces to sick pay is unequally distributed in the UK, and public support for sick pay increases when risk of spread of diseases is made salient

Change in mental health when lockdown is implemented

The impact of lockdowns on mental health:

  • Mental health worsened amongst women in the US when lockdowns were implemented.

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