Labor markets in crisis: New publication on the impact of Canada’s COVID-19 economic shutdown from Kourtney Koebel and Dionne Pohler

November 27, 2020 by Anonymous

CIRHR PhD Student Kourtney Koebel and Acting Director Dionne Pohler have published new research on the impact of Canada’s COVID-19 economic shutdown in Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society

Labor markets in crisis: The double liability of low-wage work during COVID-19 looks at how some low-wage (likely essential) workers worked more during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An earlier version of this work was published as part of the Canadian Labour Economics Forum Working Paper Series in May. 


We adopt a novel identification strategy to examine the heterogeneous effects of Canada’s COVID-19 economic shutdown on hours worked across the earnings distribution. Early labor market analyses found that workers in the bottom of the earnings distribution experienced a much larger reduction in hours worked than workers in the top of the earnings distribution. Our analysis reveals a double-liability of low-wage work during Canada’s COVID-19 economic shutdown: while workers in every quintile experienced a large reduction in hours on average, significant increases in hours were only present among workers in the bottom quintile. Implications for crisis income supports are discussed.

Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society is published by the UC-Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment and editedCIRHR alumnus Chris Riddell (CIRHR PhD 2003).