The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on inequality of opportunity in psychological distress in the UK. A new GLO Discussion Paper.

A new GLO Discussion Paper for the UK finds that psychological distress and inequality of opportunity for it has substantially increased during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

GLO Discussion Paper No. 567, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on inequality of opportunity in psychological distress in the UK – Download PDF
by &
Davillas, Apostolos & Jones, Andrew M.

GLO Fellows Apostolos Davillas & Andrew M. Jones

Author Abstract: We use data from Wave 9 of UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) and the April 2020 Wave of the UKHLS COVID-19 survey to compare measures of ex ante inequality of opportunity (IOp) in psychological distress, as measured by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), before (Wave 9) and at the initial peak (April 2020) of the pandemic. Based on a Caseness measure, the prevalence of psychological distress increases from 18.3% to 28.3% between Wave 9 and April 2020. Also, there is a systematic increase in total inequality in the Likert GHQ-12 score. However, measures of IOp have not increased. Specifically, the proportion of total inequality attributed to circumstances has declined, consistent with the notion that the pandemic is, to some extent, a leveller as far as psychological distress is considered. A Shapley-Shorrocks decomposition analysis shows that in the pre-COVID-19 period the largest contributors to IOp were financial strain, employment status and housing conditions. In contrast, in April 2020, these factors decline in their shares and age and gender now account for a larger share. The contribution of working in an industry related to the COVID-19 response plays a small role at Wave 9, but more than triples its share in April 2020. Household composition and parental occupation also increase their shares during the pandemic.

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The Journal of Population Economics welcomes submissions dealing with the demographic aspects of the Coronavirus Crisis.

Yun Qiu, Xi Chen & Wei Shi (2020): Impacts of Social and Economic Factors on the Transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in China, GLO Discussion Paper, No. 494.
REVISED DRAFT NOW PUBLISHED OPEN ACCESS ONLINE: Journal of Population Economics, Issue 4, 2020.

Further publication on COVID-19 of a GLO DP:
GLO Discussion Paper No. 508, 2020
Inter-country Distancing, Globalization and the Coronavirus Pandemic – Download PDF
Zimmermann, Klaus F. & Karabulut, Gokhan & Bilgin, Mehmet Huseyin & Doker, Asli Cansin published in: The World Economy, Vol. 43, pp. 1484-1498. OPEN ACCESS, doi:10.1111/twec.12969.

More from the GLO Coronavirus Cluster

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.