Impacts of COVID-19 on the self-employed

Charlene Marie Kalenkoski, Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This study estimates random effects and difference-in-difference-in-differences models to examine the initial impacts of COVID-19 on the employment and hours of unincorporated self-employed workers using monthly panel data from the Current Population Survey. For these workers, effects were visible in March as voluntary social distancing began, largest in April as complete shutdowns occurred, and slightly smaller in May as some restrictions were eased. We find differential effects by gender that favor men, by marital status and gender that favor married men over married women, and by gender, marital, and parental status that favor married fathers over married mothers. The evidence suggests that self-employed married mothers were forced out of the labor force to care for children presumably due to prescribed gender norms and the division and specialization of labor within households. Remote work and working in an essential industry mitigated some of the negative effects on employment and hours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-768
Number of pages28
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Gender
  • Hours worked
  • Remote work
  • Self-employment


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