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SHARE-COVID 19 Project

The COVID-19 pandemic and the epidemic control measures have affected the well-being of European citizens in terms of economics, social relationships, and health: Europe has experienced the largest recession since WWII, social contacts were interrupted, and people avoided seeking medical treatment in fear of infection. The overall aim of the SHARE-COVID19 project funded by the European Commission (grant number 101015924) is to understand these non-intended consequences of the epidemic control measures on the individual level in order to devise improved health, economic and social policies at both EU and national level.

Our first results show that

  • respondents 70+, with medium or lower education, and those who were hospitalised have had a high risk of post-COVID-19 conditions,
  • remote medical care can play an important role in maintaining healthcare access for older adults,
  • social distancing was associated with a higher probability of sleeping problems,
  • short-time employment aid was successful in the short run but elevated the unemployment risk in the longer run,
  • postponed or denied healthcare due to pandemic mostly affected lower income individuals with worse health,
  • excess mortality in nursing homes is associated with how nursing homes are designed and organised.

There are many more first results that are summarized in our „First Results Book“ that was published by de Gruyter and is available open access:

In 32 chapters, the book presents finding, how the pandemic affected

  • the quality of health care,
  • health and health behaviors,
  • employment and labor markets,
  • income and economic situation,
  • social and geographic patterns,
  • housing and living arrangements.

The power of the project is rooted in the large number of cooperation partners (17 participants) in 12 countries:

and the unique data on which the project rests:

  • waves 1-8 of SHARE, the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, provides a longitudinal picture of health, social and economic conditions before the pandemic,
  • two telephone interviews in June 2020 and June 2021 deliver the health, social and economic situation at the very beginning and at the peak of the pandemic,
  • wave 9 in 2023, when the pandemic had lost its main bite thanks to widespread vaccination, shows the long-term effects of the pandemic.

The project is organised in ten work packages.


The key deliverables are working papers of the analytical WPs 2-8 in four stages:

  • descriptive analyses based on the first round of the SHARE Corona Survey,
  • refined analyses of the first round of the SHARE Corona Survey,
  • refined analyses of both rounds of the SHARE Corona Survey plus Wave 9 of SHARE,
  • policy recommendations.

The deliverables associated with each analytical WP 2-8 and each stage – as far as completed – can be downloaded here:

Quality of
Health and

WP4: Labour
Impact on
income and
and social patterns
Housing and
living arrangements
Descriptive analyses
based on the
first round of the
SHARE Corona Survey
Refined analyses of
the first round of the
SHARE Corona Survey
Refined analyses of
both rounds of the
SHARE Corona Survey
plus Wave 9 of SHARE
Policy RecommendationsD2.5D3.5D4.5D5.5D6.5D7.5D8.5

MEA’s focus within the SHARE-COVID19 project is on labor market effects. Many people were affected by the reduction in working hours, also known as short-time work (STW). To minimize the negative effects on their incomes, many governments compensated earnings losses by short-time employment aid schemes (STEA). Examples are the wage subsidies in the Netherlands or “Kurzarbeitergeld” in Germany. Although the countries differ widely in coverage and generosity, STEA guaranteed a minimum income regardless of hours worked. MEA studies to which extent the working population was actually helped by STEA. A comparative view of SHARE countries is taken and the differences in policy outcomes are analyzed cross-nationally. The research objectives encompass the following questions:

  • Who was affected by shorter working hours during the COVID-19 pandemic? Specifically, were these vulnerable people, e.g., due to a previous history of unemployment history or due to low incomes?
  • Did they receive support? Specifically, did they receive short-time employment aid from their governments? Did this support help them to maintain their living standards?

While most economists agree STEA is helpful in the short run, some warn that it may have a negative impact in the longer run. The problem arises because STEA could prohibit the natural fluctuation of jobs whereby companies which are no longer profitable, regardless of the economic downturn, terminate jobs. Therefore, subsidizing workers at such companies (in the extreme: “zombie companies”) in effect temporarily prolongs employment, but once STEA ends, the company will eventually have to release employees. Taking this into consideration, a second set of questions evaluates the potential negative side effects of STEA:

  • Do we observe negative side effects of STEA? Specifically, do we observe higher unemployment in the longer run among people who received STEA?
  • If we observe such negative long run outcomes, can we attribute them to STEA or are they due to the fact that jobs and workers eligible for STEA may have been a less productive selection in the first place?