How Effective were Job-Retention Schemes during the COVID-19 … – International Monetary Fund

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W. Raphael Lam ; Alexandra Solovyeva
Publication Date:
January 13, 2023
Electronic Access:
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The COVID-19 pandemic had posed a dramatic impact on labor markets across Europe. Forceful fiscal responses have prevented an otherwise sharper contraction. Many countries introduced or expanded job-retention schemes to preserve jobs and support households. This paper uses a microsimulation approach (EUROMOD) and household data to assess the effectiveness of those schemes in stabilizing household income during the pandemic across European countries. Empirical evidence shows that job-retention schemes were effective in stabilizing income and, along with other measures, absorbed nearly 80 percent of market income shocks—almost doubling the extent of the automatic stabilization of the pre-pandemic tax and benefit systems. The large effects are related to the widespread use and scaling up of those schemes and a deep but short-lived disruption to labor markets during the pandemic. Along with other fiscal support measures, job-retention schemes helped mitigate the rise in the unemployment rate, by about 3 percentage points, and income inequality during the pandemic. Our results show that job-retention schemes were largely targeted, in which households more vulnerable to income losses, such as lower-income families, youth, and low-skilled workers, are able to stabilize their income.
Working Paper No. 2023/003
Economic sectors Financial crises
Publication Date:
January 13, 2023
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