Crisis Response Monitoring

Last updated: March 4, 2021, 19:02

Economic and social disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may have lasting effects on employment, income and working conditions. At the same time, there are significant cross-country differences in the labor market and social policy responses that are deployed to help mitigate the imminent crisis effects as has been shown by policy inventories released by the OECD and other institutions. IZA has invited a small number of labor economists as country experts to jointly monitor these crisis responses.

Based on a qualitative survey among the country experts, IZA establishes an independent assessment of actual crisis-related policy responses. This assessment focuses on the various domains in which measures can be observed and analyzes their targeting, take-up and implementation. The qualitative survey is based on a set of eight questions and covers a sample of 12 European and G7 countries heavily affected by COVID-19.

The available crisis management reports not only include country chapters but also a review of EU-level activities and a comparative assessment prepared by the local team of IZA researchers in Bonn. Three subsequent waves are planned and will be made available publicly in due course. The second wave was completed in December 2020.

Expert Survey Questionnaire

How do you asses the current impact of COVID-19 on the labor market in your country in terms of employment, unemployment, sectors, and firms? Who is affected the most? What do you see in terms of sectoral employment reactions, and regarding permanent, fixed-term or agency workers? Are current figures and estimates more or less in line with earlier forecasts or are there some unexpected or even surprising deviations?

What is the general orientation and targeting of the measures adopted to tackle the labor market impact of COVID-19 in your country? Is the summary in the OECD inventory appropriate? Have there been recent changes or new initiatives? How do you assess the overall policy set adopted so far? Have certain aspects or target groups been neglected in the policy packages adopted?

Regarding policies providing immediate liquidity to bussinesses in your country: How do you see the actual take-up of these support measures, also by small firms, self-employed and freelancers? To what extent do the measures in practice help mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19? How do you see the delivery and implementation by public agencies and other entities, taking into account the trade-off between quick delivery and deadweight losses or misallocation?

Regarding dependent workers in your country: How do you assess the effectiveness of unemployment insurance and short-time work in stabilizing income and jobs at the moment? To what extent do short-time work measures help reduce or postpone inflows into unemployment (and for whom)? Is this being complemented by sectoral or firm-level agreements? What is known about the support delivered to job seekers now? Has activation by active labor market policies come to a halt?

To what extent are working conditions and work organization within firms in your country changing at the moment, in particular in sectors where there is an increased or normal workload? How do working time rules, mobile working rules, or care arrangements respond to that in practice?

How do you assess the situation of new labor market entrants in your country in this year, in particular the situation of school or university graduates? Are there policy innovations and initiatives to cope with this particular situation regarding hiring, provision of apprenticeships etc.?

Do you see further remarkable developments and issues in your country, e.g. unexpected policy innovations, changes in employment, new trends? Can you already identify (changes in) medium-term or long-term trends on the labor market that are due to the crisis (e.g. accelerated structural change)? How will the general functioning of the labor market be affected in the long run?

Can the current policy stance (reduced economic activity, combined with public income support) be sustained in your country, and for how long? What do you see as necessary and useful next steps, in particular to revive economic activities (soon)? How do you see the current and future fiscal viability of the crisis relief measures?

Cumulated deaths per 1 Mio inhabitants

Source: Cumulative death figures are based on the ECDC database, which aggregates COVID-19 cases and deaths as reported by national and regional authorities. Updated every Thursday for reported data up to Monday of the same week. Population figures are based on World Bank data. Own calculations, as reported March 4, 2021