How has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Labor Markets Across Different Welfare Regimes - and Which Role did Labor market Institutions Play?

Oliver Dittmer Christensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe public health, economic and social consequences across the world. Even though all countries have been affected by the pandemic, there great differences on how labor markets have developed during the pandemic. Therefore, this thesis sheds light on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected labor markets across different welfare regimes and the role played by labor market institutions. To examine the different labor market developments during the COVID-19 pandemic, this thesis analyzes the labor market development in 5 different welfare regimes using the indicators of employment, unemployment and hours worked. The welfare regime theory is used to categorize advanced capitalist democracies into either Liberal, Corporatist, Social-democratic, Southern European, or European welfare regimes. The data used in this thesis are obtained through the OECD Annual labor Force Survey (ALFS) and European Labor Force Survey (ELFS) for 30 OECD countries located in Europe including Untied States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The analysis is followed by a discussion of the possible impacts of institutional buffering measures, and particularly job retention schemes and short-time work. One of the central findings of this thesis is that the labor market developments during the COVID-19 pandemic differ greatly among the welfare regimes, and these divergences to a great extent corresponds to the different institutional contexts of the regimes. The largest labor market impact in terms of unemployment occurred among the Liberal welfare regimes, however, institutional buffering measures and in especially short-time working schemes have played a central role in Southern European welfare regimes. Thereby, thesis suggest that the largest labor market impact occurred among the Liberal and Southern European welfare regimes, based on the development of both unemployment, hours worked and employment

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages81
SupervisorsJanine Leschke