When social trust is high, people are more inclined to collaborate—even in crisis situations. This mechanism has been at work during the pandemic, according to results of a special survey of more than 12,000 participants in the long-term study “Living in Germany”.
According to this special survey on life in Germany during COVID-19, trust has been high during the pandemic. In fact, social trust increased between February 2020 and June 2021. The results show how important trust has been in overcoming the pandemic: People with higher trust in others are more likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19. They are also more likely to follow COVID-19 rules such as “keep a safe distance,” “wash your hands,” and “wear a mask.”
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Immigrants often hold temporary jobs in sectors like food service and hospitality, and many had only been working for a short time when the pandemic hit. As a result, immigrants were 2.5 times more likely than other workers to lose their jobs during COVID-19. Pandemic job loss was even higher among refugees. Researchers at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) produced these insights into the employment effects of the pandemic based on data from the study “Living in Germany.”
One reason for the higher job loss among refugees lies in the different types of work that immigrants and non-immigrants do. Immigrants, and refugees in particular, often have jobs that cannot be done from home. According to study results, only three percent of refugees were able to work from home during the pandemic.
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The income gap between high and low-income households has narrowed over the course of the pandemic. But this is not because things have improved for people on the lower end of the income distribution, as one would have hoped. Instead it is because self-employed people, who are usually among the better-off, have suffered in the wake of measures to combat the virus. The resulting narrowing of the income gap is therefore bad news rather than good.
“If the pandemic drags on well into this year, and if measures to contain it are tightened again, this could bring about rising bankruptcy and unemployment,” says SOEP expert Markus Grabka, who conducted the study.
His analyses show that monthly net household incomes of the self-employed fell by an average of 16 percent, or 460 euros, during the second lockdown compared with 2019. In contrast, salaried employees and civil servants saw a 5 percent increase in household income in nominal terms. In the remaining households, there was no change in income on average.