November 15, 2022
We study the link between the revelation of a hitherto non-existent occupational risk – mortality due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 – and subsequent worker behaviour. We link occupation-specific data on COVID-19 mortality to individual level data sets. We find that wages did not adjust, but workers started leaving high-risk occupations during 2020. These effects are stronger for workers not affected by lockdowns or working from home orders and for those considered to be clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 and are not driven by negative health shocks or employer-initiated separations. Occupation-level results suggest that employment began to rebound in 2021.
European Economic Review
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