Edited by Luca Bortolotti, University of Turin and OEET

The breakout of the COVID-19 has caused dramatic health and economic consequences worldwide. The severity of the contagion and the resources and policies employed to tackle the virus are different across the globe, therefore determining heterogeneous outcomes. Although the poorest countries and emerging economies are not amongst those most affected in terms of (reported) victims, the economic consequences appear severe, especially considering the areas and sectors more integrated in the global value chains and world economy. The measures implemented in the advanced economies - lockdowns and social distancing - can have negative consequences also in these economies, reducing the Foreign Direct Investments, but also the official and private aid, the international demand for raw materials, and the remittances of migrants. Moreover, the pandemic context risks to exacerbate the vulnerabilities that characterize these countries, such as a dualist structure, the inequality of income and consumption and the narrowness of the public finances.

Newsletter n. 18| April 2021 - Download PDF

Carlo Sdralevich[*]

A systemic, combined shock

The impact of the pandemic has been direct—through the health costs and curbs on economic activity from the lockdown and other public health measures—and indirect, through the fall in global demand for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) commodities and services, primarily tourism. Under the impact of the pandemic, SSA real GDP is estimated to have contracted by 3 percent in 2020, the largest decline on record, about 7 percentage points lower than projected in the last World Economic Outlook (WEO) before the pandemic, in October 2019.

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Maurizio Bussolo[1], Ananya Kotia[2] and Siddharth Sharma[3]

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic is having unequal impacts across race, gender, age, and income groups, exacerbating pre-existing inequalities. This contribution focusses on the differential impact of the pandemic on an important dimension of emerging economy labour markets: informality. Informal workers are not covered by formal employment protection laws and social insurance programs, and are concentrated in small and micro-sized firms, which have limited cash reserves for paying employees in the event of insufficient earnings. They may have limited access to relief measures introduced by governments in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It is also likely that informal workers were less able to self-insure against this shock than formal workers, owing to lower levels of savings and poorer access to credit. We use a large panel data of workers to assess how informal workers have weathered the crisis as compared to formal workers in India.

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Velia Bigi[1], Elena Perra[2] and Giorgia Giovannetti[3]

Introduction

Arab countries are among those that have employed precautionary measures to tackle the diffusion of COVID-19, acting in advance to avoid the dramatic consequences of the virus. By exploiting new publicly available data sets, we obtained a real-time analysis of the economic and environmental consequences of the measures undertaken to tackle the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The empirical focus is on a selected group of countries in the Arab region, illustrative of the socio-dynamics of the area. This allows to “visualize” the regions that have been most negatively affected by the contagion containment measures, using near-real time data, such as the drop in emitted luminosity (NTLs) and the reduction in NO2 presence in the atmosphere as proxies for economic activity and urban settlement dynamics (Henderson, Storeygard and Weil, 2012).

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