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Impact of COVID-19 on Labor Market Outcomes of Refugees and Nationals in Kenya (English)

This paper investigates the labor market outcomes for refugee and urban national communities in Kenya during the COVID-19 pandemic, using five waves of a novel high-frequency phone survey collected between May 2020 and June 2021. Even after conditioning on age, gender, educational attainment, and area of living, only 32 percent of refugees were employed in February 2020 compared with 63 percent of nationals. With the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, the share of employed for both refugees and nationals fell by around 36 percent, such that in May-June 2020, only 21 percent of refugees were still employed compared with 40 percent of nationals. Using a panel setup with wave and location fixed effects, the analysis finds that the recovery in the share of employed, hours worked, and household incomes was slower and often stagnant for refugees compared with the recovery of nationals. These differences cannot be explained by demographic factors, living in an urban or camp environment, having been employed previously, or sectoral choice, suggesting that a third, unobservable “refugee factor” inhibits refugees’ recovery after a major shock and aggravates preexisting vulnerabilities.


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    Vintar,Mirko, Beltramo,Theresa Parrish, Delius,Antonia Johanna Sophie, Egger,Dennis Timo, Pape,Utz Johann

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    Policy Research Working Paper

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    Africa East,

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    Impact of COVID-19 on Labor Market Outcomes of Refugees and Nationals in Kenya

  • Keywords

    Poverty and Equity; urban national; household per capita income; access to external finance; Democratic Republic of Congo; refugee-hosting country; social safety-nets; access to government service; complete secondary school; labor market outcome; income earning activity; share of work; income generating activity; trade and services; negative income shock; freedom of movement; community health worker; speed of recovery; low school attendance; labor market participation; labor market dynamic; cell phone penetration; acres of land; doses of vaccine; increased demand; public transport passenger; public information campaign; influx of refugees; access to technology; high population density; working age population; proxy for poverty; difference in income; Access to Education; quality of education; household fixed effect; change in behavior; labor market trend; small business owner; trade in services; share of wage; refugee camp; household income; first wave; phone number; refugee community; refugee work; employment share; wage work; demographic characteristic; Host Communities; Job Quality; refugee household; work permit; agricultural production; socioeconomic survey; sampling frame; income gap; household head; refugee context; national community; standard error; survey design; cash assistance; rural area; empirical model; agricultural household; employment indicator; high employment; employment status; temporary protection; urban population; labor outcomes; regression results; legal right; birth certificate; informal sector; confirmed case; employment rate; business license; job market; demographic factor; education service; employment opportunity; commercial hub; social worker; collected data; employment opportunities; operational capability; international community; Education Services; vaccination rate; south sudan; asylum seeker; national samples; global demand; shop owner; startup cost; food assistance; refugee migration; labor supply; computer assist; household use; common work; international flight; income generation; application process; refugee status; paying job; national teacher; educational institution; short-term contract; socioeconomic data; legal hurdles; coping strategy; implementing partner; short term contract; stateless person; agricultural opportunity; Health Service; school certificate; child labor; medical facility; regulatory challenge; agricultural work; old population; job opportunities; funding support; local economy; quality datum; qualitative assessment; sample collection; quantitative analysis; longitudinal study; employment outcome; food insecurity; socioeconomic studies; forced displacement; global knowledge; job opportunity; informal employment; low-skilled job; wage labor; price change; host destination; employment experience; recovery process; welfare support; low-skilled worker; last round; income gain; urban settlement; employment gap; personal mobility; Displaced Population; monthly income; outcome indicator; household size; emergency relief; formal financing; global employment; movement restriction; livelihood opportunity; survey period; wage worker; baseline data; wage income; enterprise profit; socioeconomic impact; subsistence farming; household level; development policy; institutional framework; quality materials; open access; restricted access; food ration; point estimate; unobserved characteristic; constant term; policy program; positive income; refugee population; household consumption; household poverty; local producer; ownership share; robustness check



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Vintar,Mirko Beltramo,Theresa Parrish Delius,Antonia Johanna Sophie Egger,Dennis Timo Pape,Utz Johann

Impact of COVID-19 on Labor Market Outcomes of Refugees and Nationals in Kenya (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 9960,COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.