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Regular version of the site

Third ICEF Conference on Applied Economics (special online edition on COVID-19)

Conference Programme

September 12th, 2020

The Conference on Applied Economics is organized at ICEF for the third time. The organizing committee of the Conference consists of Prof. Fabian Slonimczyk (chair, ICEF), Prof. Markus Gebauer  (ICEF), Prof. Vladimir Gimpelson (Center for Labor Market Studies, HSE), and Prof. Marco Francesconi  (Essex University).

Opening of the conference: 3:00 pm (Moscow time)
Location: Zoom and YouTube
Language: English

Speaker: Thomas Le Barbanchon (Bocconi University)

Job Search during the COVID-19 Crisis (with Lena Hensvik and Roland Rathelot). Paper >>

Abstract: This paper measures the job-search responses to the COVID-19 pandemic using realtime data on vacancy postings and ad views on Sweden’s largest online job board. First, the labour demand shock in Sweden is as large as in the US, and affects industries and occupations heterogeneously. Second, the scope and direction of search change. Job seekers respond to the shock by searching less intensively and by redirecting their search towards less severely hit occupations, beyond what changes in labour demand would predict. The redirection of job search changes relative hiring costs, and has the potential to amplify labour demand shifts.

Discussant: Vitalijs Jascisens (ICEF)

Speaker: Libertad González (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

How the COVID-19 Lockdown Affected Gender Inequality in Paid and Unpaid Work in Spain (with Lídia Farré, Yarine Fawaz and Jennifer Graves).
Paper >>

Abstract: The covid-19 pandemic led many countries to close schools and declare lockdowns during the Spring of 2020, with important impacts on the labor market. We document the effects of the covid-19 lockdown in Spain, which was hit early and hard by the pandemic and suffered one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. We collected rich household survey data in early May of 2020. We document large employment losses during the lockdown, especially in “quarantined” sectors and non-essential sectors that do not allow for remote work. Employment losses were mostly temporary and hit lower-educated workers particularly hard. Women were slightly more likely to lose their job than men, and those who remained employed were more likely to work from home. The lockdown led to a large increase in childcare and housework, given the closing of schools and the inability to outsource. We find that men increased their participation in housework and childcare slightly, but most of the burden fell on women, who were already doing most of the housework before the lockdown. Overall, we find that the covid-19 crisis appears to have increased gender inequalities in both paid and unpaid work in the short-term.

Discussant: Anna Yurko (ICEF)

Speaker: Ingo E. Isphording (IZA, Bonn)

Pandemic Meets Pollution: Poor Air Quality Increases Deaths by COVID-19 (with Nico Pestel). Paper >>

Abstract: We study the impact of short-term exposure to ambient air pollution on the spread and severity of COVID-19 in Germany. We combine data on county-by-day level on confirmed cases and deaths with information on local air quality and weather conditions and exploit short-term variation in the concentration of particulate matter (PM10) and ozone (O3). We apply fixed effects regressions controlling for global time-varying confounding factors and regional time-invariant confounding factors on the county level, as well as potentially confounding weather conditions and the regional stage of the pandemic. We find significant positive effects of PM10 concentration after the onset of the illness on COVID-19 deaths specifically for elderly patients (80+ years): higher levels of air pollution by one standard deviation 3 to 12 days after developing symptoms increase deaths by 30 percent (males) and 35 percent (females) of the mean. In addition, air pollution raises the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19. The timing of results supports mechanisms of air pollution affecting the severity of already realized infections. Air pollution appears not to affect the probability of infection itself.

Discussant: Eren Arbatli (Economics Faculty, HSE)

Speaker: Stanislav Rabinovich (UNC Chapel Hill)

Optimal Unemployment Benefits in the Pandemic (with Kurt Mitman). Paper >>

Abstract: How should unemployment benefits vary in response to the economic crisis induced by the COVID-19 pandemic? We answer this question by computing the optimal unemployment insurance response to the COVID-induced recession. We compare the optimal policy to the provisions under the CARES Act—which substantially expanded unemployment insurance and sparked an ongoing debate over further increases—and several alternative scenarios. We find that it is optimal first to raise unemployment benefits but then to begin lowering them as the economy starts to reopen — despite unemployment remaining high. We also find that the $600 UI supplement payment implemented under CARES was close to the optimal policy. Extending this UI supplement for another six months would hamper the recovery and reduce welfare. On the other hand, a UI extension combined with a re-employment bonus would further increase welfare compared to CARES alone, with only minimal effects on unemployment.

Discussant: Markus Gebauer (ICEF)