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Inequality and psychological well-being in times of COVID-19: evidence from Spain

Monica Martinez-Bravo () and Carlos Sanz

SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, 2021, vol. 12, issue 4, No 1, 489-548

Abstract: Abstract Using two novel online surveys collected in May and November 2020, we study the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on Spanish households. We document a large and negative effect on household income. By May 2020, the average individual lived in a household that had lost 16% of their pre-pandemic monthly income. Furthermore, this drop was highly unequal: while households in the richest quintile lost 6.8% of their income, those in the poorest quintile lost 27%. We also document that the pandemic deepened the gender-income gap: on average, women experienced a three-percentage point larger income loss than men. While this is consistent with previous findings in the literature, in this paper we document that this effect is driven by women from middle-income households with kids. Finally, we provide evidence that Spanish individuals experienced moderate declines in their levels of psychological well-being. This effect is not different for individuals living in rich or poor households, but the reasons behind well-being losses do differ: richer individuals are more concerned about loss of contact with dear ones, while low-income individuals are more likely to mention loss of income and employment as a key source of emotional distress.

Keywords: Inequality; COVID-19; Well-being (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 I14 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s13209-021-00255-3

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