We review the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on inequalities in education, the labour market, household living standards, mental health, and wealth in the UK. The pandemic has pushed up inequalities on several dimensions. School closures particular disrupted the learning of poorer children, leading to lower attainment. Mental health worsened for those groups (women and younger adults) who had poorer mental health pre-pandemic. Lockdowns and social distancing particularly reduced the ability of younger, lower-earning, and less educated people to work. However, job-support programmes combined with the expanded welfare system meant that, if anything, disposable income inequality fell. Rising house prices have benefited people in particular around the middle of the wealth distribution. In the longer term, lower work experience for the less educated and missed schooling could push up some inequalities. Increased rates of working from home seem likely to persist which may increase some inequalities and decrease others.
Richard is Co-Director of the Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy (CPP) and Senior Research Fellow at IFS.
Deputy Research Director
Monica is a Deputy Research Director and Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol, with an interest in Labour, Family and Public Economics.
Robert is a Deputy Director. His work focuses on economic inequality, labour markets and welfare policy.
Jonathan is an Associate Director and Head of Retirement, Savings and Ageing sector, focusing on pensions, savings and economic activity in later life
Tom is an Associate Director at the IFS and Head of the Income, Work and Welfare sector.
Senior Research Economist
Xiaowei joined the IFS in 2018 and works in the Income, Work and Welfare sector.
Tom is a Research Economist in the Income, Work and Welfare sector, having joined the IFS in 2020.
Working Paper details
- Institute for Fiscal Studies
Blundell, R et al. (2022). Inequality and the Covid crisis in the United Kingdom. London: Institute for Fiscal Studies. Available at: https://ifs.org.uk/publications/inequality-and-covid-crisis-united-kingdom (accessed: 2 December 2023).
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