The Short-Term Impact of COVID-19 on Labour Market Outcomes: Comparative Systematic Evidence

Binyam Afewerk Demena*, Andrea Floridi, Natascha Wagner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

4 Citations (Scopus)
759 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter uses advanced meta-analysis techniques to evaluate the short-run impact of COVID-19 on various labour market indicators. Using 2429 reported estimates of labour market outcomes associated with COVID-19 from 29 empirical studies conducted in 12 countries, we show that large parts of the documented literature exhibit substantial publication bias. After controlling for publication bias, we find almost no practically meaningful impact of COVID-19 on earnings, hours worked and (un)employment. Next, we investigate if the identified publication bias is caused by publication characteristics. However, these characteristics do not appear to drive the identified bias. We also uncover the differences between developed and developing countries. The findings indicate that in practical terms both groups of countries experienced hardly any measurable short-term impacts of COVID-19 on the labour market. Furthermore, we detect systematic upward publication bias for unemployment and job loss in developed countries, and downward bias for employment, hours worked and earnings in developing countries. Overall, we concluded that in the short-run no major labour market effects could be identified related to formal employment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCovid-19 and International Development
EditorsElissaios Papyrakis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-82339-9
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022.


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