Economic stress of people 50 + in European countries in the Covid-19 pandemic-do country policies matter?

Eur J Ageing. 2022 Dec;19(4):883-902. doi: 10.1007/s10433-021-00662-2. Epub 2021 Nov 24.

Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic caused lockdown of economies, which in turn led to the worsening of the economic situation of many households. During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic governments undertook various measures to support economies and societies, including jobs protection along with financial support provision to people who suffered financial loss during the economic crisis. We analyse the economic situation of older Europeans, depending on their socio-economic status as well as country of residence characteristics, including economic and labour market changes during the first phase of the pandemic, the strictness of government policies but also the country development level using the Human Development Index. We use the results of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), including the SHARE Corona Telephone Survey, which was conducted during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our results indicate that individual characteristics have a higher impact on individual economic stress, compared to country characteristics. However, country's response to the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the overall level of development influences the economic situation and ability to cope with the economic risks people aged 50 and over face. People in more developed countries have smaller difficulties in making ends meet, while the economic crisis and more stringent policies reduce chances to receive financial support and increase economic risks.

Keywords: Covid-19 pandemic; Economic risks; Older population; SHARE.