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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - NIDS-CRAM Working Paper
Title Differences in depressive symptoms between formal and informal workers during the COVID-19 crisis: Evidence from Wave 2 and Wave 3 of NIDS-CRAM
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2021
The stringent lockdown of the economy in response to the Covid-19 global pandemic triggered a larger negative shock on labour market outcomes of informal when compared to formal workers in developing countries. This potentially generated a disproportionate burden of stress and anxiety which cause depressive symptoms, among informal workers. These unintended consequences of COVID-19 reinforced the vulnerability and stressful working conditions that characterised informal work pre-COVID 19. Therefore, this study examines differences in depressive symptoms between informal and formal workers in South Africa during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Our analysis focuses on the June to October 2020 period, which was characterised by the easing of lockdown regulations from level 3 to level 1. Using the NIDS-CRAM wave 2 and 3 survey data, we estimate a standard logit and a fixed effects (FE) logit model to account for worker’s unobserved heterogeneity. Results show that the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms increased across all workers between June and October. We find no statistically significant differences between informal and formal workers’ mental health over this period. Additional results show that workers living in urban areas and households suffering from hunger had a higher risk of experiencing depressive symptoms. Based on these results, we recommend for government strategies that curb the rise in depressive symptoms among workers.

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