Questions and answers about
the UK economy.

The idiosyncratic impact of an aggregate shock: the distributional consequences of Covid-19

Using new data from the Understanding Society: Covid-19 survey collected in April 2020, we show how the aggregate shock caused by the pandemic affects individuals across the distribution in the UK. The survey collects data from existing members of the Understanding Society panel survey who have been followed for up to 10 years. Understanding society is based on probability samples and the Understanding Society Covid-19 Survey is carefully constructed to support valid population inferences. Further the panel allows comparisons with a pre-pandemic baseline. We document how the shock of the pandemic translates into different economic shocks for different types of worker: those with less education and precarious employment face the biggest economic shocks. Some of those affected are able to mitigate the impact of the economic shocks: universal credit protects those in the bottom quintile, for example. We estimate the prevalence of the different measures individuals and households take to mitigate the shocks. We show that the opportunities for mitigation are most limited for those most in need.

Lead investigator:

Michaela Benzeval

Affiliation:

University of Essex

Primary topic:

Inequality & poverty

Secondary topic:

Jobs, work, pay & benefits

Region of data collection:

Europe

Country of data collection

UK

Status of data collection

Complete

Type of data being collected:

Online survey

Unit of real-time data collection

Individual

Start date

4/2020

End date

4/2020

Frequency

One-off

Read the results from this research Get the questions used in this research