Impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on single-person households in South Korea

Haeil Jung, Jun Hyung Kim, Gihyeon Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using nationally representative income and expenditure data from South Korea, we show that single-person households suffered a much greater decrease in household income and expenditure compared to multi-persons households during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Negative effects on income were largest for the single-person households in ages 50—64, mostly driven by decreases in earned income rather than business income. There was no corresponding decrease in consumption expenditures, however, other than on transportation expenditure for young men. Notably, there were significant decreases in non-consumption expenditures that are related to formal and informal consumption-smoothing mechanisms, such as spending on insurances, pensions, and household transfers. Our findings highlight the disproportionately negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the middle-aged single-person households. With reduced spending on consumption-smoothing mechanisms, this group is likely to be even more vulnerable to negative income shocks in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101557
JournalJournal of Asian Economics
Volume84
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb

Keywords

  • Consumption
  • COVID-19
  • Income
  • Informal insurance
  • Single-person households

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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