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Seoul Journal of Economics - Vol. 34 , No. 1

[ Article ]
Seoul Journal of Economics - Vol. 34, No. 1, pp.43-80
Abbreviation: SJE
ISSN: 1225-0279 (Print)
Print publication date 28 Feb 2021
Received 30 Dec 2020 Accepted 26 Jan 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22904/sje.2021.34.1.004

COVID-19 and Employment in South Korea: Trends and Comparison with the 2008 Financial Crisis
Minhyuk Nam ; Soohyung Lee
Minhyuk Nam, BA Candidate, Department of Economics, Sogang University, 35 Baekbeom-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul 04107, Korea, Tel: +82-2-705-8179 (mhnam@sogang.ac.kr)
Soohyung Lee, Corresponding author, Associate Professor, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University, Global Labor Organization, and IZA, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, Korea, Tel: +82-2-880-4048 (soohlee@snu.ac.kr)

JEL Classification: E32, J21, J60


Abstract

We examine the impact of COVID-19 on employment in South Korea as of June 2020. To estimate the causal effect, we use two complementary methods. First, using individual-level data without residence information, we estimate the effects by controlling for detailed characteristics of individuals. Second, using aggregate data without individual characteristics, we exploit the regional variation in the intensity of COVID-19 to measure the effects. We find that the COVID-19 pandemic decreased the employment rate by 0.82%p and increased the unemployment rate by 0.29%p. These estimated effects are 90%–140% larger than those of the 2008 Financial Crisis.


Keywords: COVID-19, Financial Crisis, Unemployment, Employment

Acknowledgments

We thank Dr. Woo-Hyun Jang and the participants of the “Covid-19 and the Korean Economy” conference for their detailed comments. All errors are our own.


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