Pandemic and employment: Evidence from COVID-19 in South Korea

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Using two complementary approaches, this study examines the deterioration of the Korean labor market during the first 10 months of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Applying the synthetic control method, we first find that the COVID-19 outbreak has eliminated 1.1 million jobs (4.2% of nonfarm employment) nationwide in April 2020. However, a difference-in-differences approach shows that local variation in COVID-19 intensity, which captures the “regional” effect of the pandemic, explains only 9% of the national shock. The portion of the regional effect remains low until December. This is mainly because the nationwide fear and policies such as social distancing measures also have a “common” effect on local economies. Our findings suggest that the COVID-19 shock may last long in the labor market due to this common effect unless the risk of infection is completely eliminated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101432
JournalJournal of Asian Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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