The labour market impact of COVID-19 lockdowns
Evidence from Ghana
In this paper, we provide causal evidence of the impact of stringent lockdown policies on labour market outcomes at both the extensive and intensive margins, using Ghana as a case study.
We take advantage of a specific policy setting, in which strict stay-at-home orders were issued and enforced in two spatially delimited areas, bringing Ghana’s major metropolitan centres to a standstill, while in the rest of the country less stringent regulations were in place.
Using a difference-in-differences design, we find that the three-week lockdown had a large and significant immediate negative impact on employment in the treated districts, particularly among workers in informal self-employment.
While the gap in employment between the treated and control districts had narrowed four months after the lockdown was lifted, we detect a persistent nationwide impact on labour market outcomes, jeopardizing particularly the livelihoods of small business owners mainly operating in the informal economy.