Today a very comprehensive special edition of WSI-Mitteilungen is available (find the paper online here). It includes many contributions by distinguished colleagues such as Berthold Vogel, Aline Zucco, Malte Lübker, Wolfgang Merkel, Sebastian Dullien, Silke Ötsch, Stephan Lessenich and so many more (find the complete list here). It also features my study co-authored by Bettina Kohlrausch on inequality and income loss during the crises. The paper is available here.
Our new report on income distribution in Germany is available. It is divided in two parts. The first part shows how incomes developed between 2010 and 2017 with SOEP data. Incomes in all income classes rose with the exception of those at the lower end. As incomes in the middle also benefitted, social inequality in general decreased slightly.
In a second part we focus on the most recent developments during the COVID-19 crisis and analyze who suffered income loss with data of the HBS work-force panel. On the one hand the results show that employees affected by the specific direction of the German lockdown were affected (self-employed, freelancers, employees working in the hospitality sector, parents). On the other hand, we find that those employees, who were lacking protection before and who had the lowest incomes were the one´s most frequently affected with high income loss. These findings suggest a rise in social inequality, as low incomes are disadvantaged again and middle incomes are harder hit by the pandemic than high incomes.
Here you can find a 10-minute live interview with Radio Corax.
My employer the Hans-Böckler-Foundation interviewed me on the current Corona situation in Germany and the potential for societal conflict. In short, I see the situation as potentially explosive. The crisis has put a lot of people in existential worries and brought rapid social change. Many people have suffered income loss and many perceive the burden sharing as unjust, while we could in fact show that particularly already disadvantaged groups carried most of the burden. As right-wing populist and extremist groups offer visible alternative myths and “explanations” in their growing protests, there is a big risk that many lose trust in political institutions and might eventually turn their backs on democratic dialogue. With that said, it seems even more important to properly explain the restrictions and the aspect of a just distribution of burden sharing should become the focus of attention.
In a podcast for the Embassy of Germany in Israel, I talked with the Director General of the Macro Center for Political Economics Roby Nathanson and the journalist Tal Shalev about the socio-economic situation in Germany and Israel. The 40-minutes conversation was broadcasted live on Facebook and can be rewatched via the link in the Thread.
In the recent weeks I analyzed the WSI work force panel regarding the prevalence of discontent and skeptical attitudes regarding the coronavirus in Germany. It is available here (unfortunately only in German). But here is a thread that summarizes the most important findings with a lot of figures: in German, in English.
It shows a widespread prevalence of conspiracy myths in Germany – especially among the younger, low-income, low-educated respondents and respondents in the East of Germany.
The attitudes prove to be pretty stable. The discontent increases particularly among groups who carried most of the crisis´ financial burden or have a potentially lower risk-perception for the virus.
The Hans-Böckler-Foundation published a press release and a short summary on our new study which is in press right now (only in German unfortunately). The study is on the prevalence of income loss during the COVID-19 crisis in Germany and reveals how unequal the burden is shared among the work force and how this reinforces social inequality. Here is a Twitter thread that summarizes the most important findings in English and in German.
And here are some links to German newspapers covering the study:
SPIEGEL includes our study in a new article – unfortunately behind a paywall. The SPIEGEL-article summarizes several studies about who is suffering most during the COVID-19 crises. With regard to our WSI-working population survey, they cite our findings that particularly parents and low-income groups had to concede most often income losses. Furthermore, the finding of increased losses for persons with immigrant background is covered followed by a quote of my co-author Bettina Kohlrausch: “This might be an indicator for discrimination”, as several other factors are controlled in the analyses.
Find my interview on this question in the “MITBESTIMMUNG” magazine of the Hans-Böckler-Foundation here.
A new daily blog series of the Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) investigates processes of social inequality during the COVID-19 crisis in Germany. A first blog article by Bettina Kohlrausch and me analyzes who suffered from income losses during the crisis. Based on panel data of more than 6.000 respondents of Germany´s working population, 31.8% stated income loss. The analyses furthermore show how existing inequalities are reinforced during corona. For example, respondents in precarious work conditions state more often income losses. Moreover, women (especially those with kids) reduced their working hours to a greater extent than men. The article strongly argues for a better consideration of social inequalities for the implementation of future state support measures.
Here´s my thread on this (in German).