Measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 affect some workers’ capability to work and hence earnings more than others. The initial impact may be mitigated, for instance by relying on savings and assets. Access to these buffers may, however, also vary considerably within and across countries. In this paper we estimate for Euro Area workers their potential earnings losses related to the COVID-19 labour supply shock (before state responses) using the Lockdown Working Ability Index and relate this to households’ savings and assets observed in the Eurosystem Household Finance and Consumption Survey. We find that, on average across the Euro Area, affected households could only offset half of their losses by relying on their liquid assets, ranging from 25% in some countries to 80% in others. We also find that liquid asset buffers of households in the bottom earnings quintiles are often insufficient to prevent them from falling below a low earnings threshold.
Kuypers, S., Marx, I., Nolan, B. & Palomino, J.C. (2021). 'Lockdown, Earnings Losses and Household Asset Buffers in Europe'. INET Oxford Working Paper No. 2021-10.