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COVID-19: A Crisis of the Female Self-Employed

Discussion Papers 1903, I, 43 S.

Daniel Graeber, Alexander S. Kritikos, Johannes Seebauer


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Published in: Journal of Population Economics 34 (2021), S. 1141–1187


We investigate how the economic consequences of the pandemic, and of the government-mandated measures to contain its spread, affected the self-employed relative to employed individuals in Germany and, secondly, to what extent the female self-employed were more strongly hit than their male counterparts. For our analysis, we use representative, real-time survey data where respondents are asked about their situation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings indicate that self-employed individuals were much more likely to suffer income losses than employees. Among the self-employed, women were 35% more likely to experience income losses than men, as women are disproportionately working in industries that are more severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We conclude that future policy measures intended to mitigate such shocks should account for this variation in economic hardship.

JEL-Classification: L26;J16;J31;J71;I18
Keywords: Self-employed, COVID-19, income, gender, representative real-time survey data, decomposition methods
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