The Labour Market Impact of COVID-19 Lockdowns: Evidence from Ghana

33 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2021

See all articles by Simone Schotte

Simone Schotte

German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA)

Michael Danquah

United Nations - United Nations University (UNU)

Robert Darko Osei

University of Ghana - Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER)

Kunal Sen

University of Manchester

Abstract

In this paper, we 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. We 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, we 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, we detect a persistent nationwide decline in both earnings and employment, jeopardizing particularly the livelihoods of small business owners mainly operating in the informal economy.

Keywords: COVID-19, lockdown, employment, informal economy, Ghana

JEL Classification: I18, J46, J63, O55

Suggested Citation

Schotte, Simone and Danquah, Michael and Osei, Robert Darko and Sen, Kunal, The Labour Market Impact of COVID-19 Lockdowns: Evidence from Ghana. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3917307 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3917307

Simone Schotte (Contact Author)

German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) ( email )

Neuer Jungfernstieg 21
Hamburg, DE D-20354
Germany

Michael Danquah

United Nations - United Nations University (UNU) ( email )

Tokyo, 150-8925
Japan

Robert Darko Osei

University of Ghana - Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) ( email )

P.O BOX LG 74
Legon
Ghana

Kunal Sen

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, N/A M13 9PL
United Kingdom

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