Simone Schotte on the labor market impact of COVID-19 lockdowns: evidence from Ghana

Weekly seminar of the Labour Institute for Economic Research

On 15 December 2021 UNU-WIDER Research Associate Simone Schotte presents at the weekly online seminar of the Labour Institute for Economic Research. The topic of her presentation is The labor market impact of COVID-19 lockdowns: evidence from Ghana. 

The weekly seminar series gathers around researchers to listen to a presentation on a topical issue and provide valuable feedback. This session provides knowledge the impact of COVID-19 on employment in Ghana.

This presentation draws on an IZA Discussion Paper authored with Michael Danquah, Robert Osei, and Kunal Sen, and builds on a WIDER Working Paper.

In this paper the authors provide causal evidence of the immediate and near-term impact of stringent COVID-19 lockdown policies on employment outcomes, using Ghana as a case study. They take advantage of a specific policy setting, in which strict stay-at-home orders were issued and enforced in two spatially delimited areas, bringing Ghana's major metropolitan centres to a standstill, while in the rest of the country less stringent regulations were in place. Using a difference-in-differences design, they find that the three-week lockdown had a large and significant immediate negative impact on employment in the treated districts, particularly among workers in informal self-employment. While the gap in employment between the treated and control districts had narrowed four months after the lockdown was lifted, they detect a persistent nationwide decline in both earnings and employment, jeopardizing particularly the livelihoods of small business owners mainly operating in the informal economy.