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  • Author: Maryna Tverdostup
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has highly asymmetric effects on labour market outcomes of men and women. In this paper, we empirically investigate the dynamics and drivers of gender gaps in employment rates, wages and workhours during the pandemic. Relying on Estonian Labour Force Survey data, we document that the pandemic has, if anything, reduced gender inequality in all three domains. Our results suggest that, while the evolution of inequalities mirrored the infection rate development – rising as infections mounted and declining as the first wave flattened – overall, the pandemic did not exacerbate gender gaps in 2020. The cyclical increases in gender disparities were largely driven by parenthood, as child-rearing women experienced a major decline in their employment rate and workhours, as well as gender segregation in the most affected industries. The higher propensity to work from home and better educational attainments of women deterred gender wage gap expansion, as wage returns to telework and education rose during the pandemic. Our results suggest no systematic expansion of gender gaps, but rather short-term fluctuations. However, labour market penalties for women with young children and women employed in those industries most affected by COVID-19 may last longer than the pandemic, threatening to widen gender inequality in the long run.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Employment, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Abigail Bellows, Nada Zohdy
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The pandemic is spurring elite and grassroots civic actors to cooperate more, but the gulf between them remains wide. Civic actors must seize the opportunity for reform on open government issues. From Africa to Latin America to Europe, the coronavirus pandemic has generated a surge in public demand for government transparency and accountability. To seize this window for reform, elite and grassroots civic actors concerned with open governance must overcome the cleavage that has long existed between them. Thus far, the pandemic has catalyzed some new civic collaborations, but not at the scale or depth needed to seize that window. In general, civil society groups report feeling more isolated during the pandemic. In some places, the urgency of tackling open government issues during the pandemic has helped overcome that isolation by deepening partnerships among existing networks. But in other places, those partnerships have yet to take shape, and new alliances are less likely to form without the benefit of face-to-face interactions. Even the partnerships that have crystallized or deepened do not appear to be changing the fundamental roles of elite and grassroots civic actors. It is possible that this shift may happen over time. Or it may be that the pandemic alone is not enough to dislodge structural barriers to deeper cooperation. The pandemic has dramatically changed the operations of elite and grassroots actors alike. The impact of those changes on collaboration between the two depends on preexisting levels of technological capacity. In places with limited connectivity, the pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide, adversely affecting grassroots actors. Meanwhile, in places with good connectivity, technology is enabling broader (though shallower) participation, laying the groundwork for more elite-grassroots collaboration. Although many civil society groups are struggling financially during the pandemic, those effects are mitigated to some degree by continuing donor interest in the open government sector. This is encouraging, as coalition building requires dedicated, flexible resources. Finally, it is a more dangerous time to be working on open government issues in general, and grassroots actors bear disproportionate risks in doing so. This underscores the need for more vertical alliances to mitigate civic space threats.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Ulrich Schetter
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: In this paper, we develop a heterogeneous agent general equilibrium framework to analyze optimal joint policies of a lockdown and transfer payments in times of a pandemic. In our model, the effectiveness of a lockdown in mitigating the pandemic depends on endogenous compliance. A more stringent lockdown deepens the recession which implies that poorer parts of society find it harder to subsist. This reduces their compliance with the lockdown, and may cause deprivation of the very poor, giving rise to an excruciating trade-off between saving lives from the pandemic and from deprivation. Lump-sum transfers help mitigate this trade-off. We identify and discuss key trade-offs involved and provide comparative statics for optimal policy. We show that, ceteris paribus, the optimal lockdown is stricter for more severe pandemics and in richer countries. We then consider a government borrowing constraint and show that limited fiscal space lowers the optimal lockdown and welfare, and increases the aggregate death burden during the pandemic. We finally discuss distributional consequences and the political economy of fighting a pandemic.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Political Economy, Inequality, Economic Growth, Fiscal Policy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mika Aaltola
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since late 2019, the world has sought – frantically at times – to appropriate policies for responding to the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19). This Working Paper reviews the political significance of Covid-19 in order to understand the ways in which it challenges the existing domestic order, international health governance actors and, more fundamentally, the circulation-based modus operandi of the present world order. The analysis begins with the argument that contagious diseases should be regarded as complex open-ended phenomena with various features; they are not reducible to biology and epidemiology alone. In particular, politics and social reactions – in the form of panic and blamecasting, for example – are prominent features with clear historical patterns, and should not, for the sake of efficient health governance, be treated as aspects extraneous to the disease itself. The Working Paper further highlights that when a serious infectious disease spreads, a “threat” is very often externalized into a culturally meaningful “foreign” entity. Pandemics tend to be territorialized, nationalized, ethnicized, and racialized. This has also been the case with Covid-19.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tyyne Karjalainen
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Covid-19 highlights the relevance of sharing information at a time of crisis. The revision of International Health Regulations in 2005 aimed to prevent the international spread of diseases, but the response to the novel virus shows that gaps in global health security remain. At the same time, authorities at all levels need to gain citizens’ trust in order to design an effective response.
  • Topic: Leadership, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marjorie Pajaron
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: COVID-19 presents humanity with not just a health crisis but also a governance crisis as leaders around the globe confront the challenges of stemming the spread of the virus. Various governments have responded in various ways to slow the transmission of the virus. Ideally, the leaders of a country should approach the crisis with a two-pronged attack. The first is to flatten the epidemic curve (epi curve), which is simply a graphical representation of the number of cases and date of onset of the illness, and the second is to raise or strengthen the capacity of the health system. Flattening the epi curve includes mass testing for COVID-19, which has been done in South Korea, for example. Decreasing the incidence also includes quarantine, isolation, and other social distancing strategies, which have been done by various countries in varying degrees. For example, in China, total lockdown (cordon sanitaire) was implemented in Wuhan, of the Hubei province, while in the Philippines, the entire Luzon, which consists of eight administrative regions, including the national capital region (NCR), was in total lockdown (enhanced community quarantine, or ECQ) since March 16 (World Health Organization [WHO] 2020a). Other parts of the Philippines were under different degrees of quarantine at different periods since the appearance of local transmission. Raising the health care system capacity of a country may include, but is not limited to, training of health care workers, increasing facilities or hospitals that receive COVID patients, and providing adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). This paper offers a brief epidemiological review of COVID-19 since its first case in China and how the hotspots for this disease evolved and changed over a relatively short period. This paper also aims to provide a short descriptive review of the existing data on COVID-19 in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region and the government response of its ten member countries, so that we can somehow draw lessons and learn from these myriad experiences as we continue to combat the spread of this dangerous pathogen. The findings in this paper are preliminary, and more rigorous analysis is expected to be performed as the data becomes more extensive and available.
  • Topic: Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Travel , Quarantine
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: This is a Pugwash document concerning nuclear problems and tensions in the time of COVID-19. This document has been co-signed by an extensive list of Pugwash colleagues and personalities. We hope that it might promote debate about how to improve international cooperation and, in particular, the reduction of international tensions that may bring new risks
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: James K. Wither
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The paper analyzes the terrorism threat against western states during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and, in particular, whether the crisis has created particular vulnerabilities that terrorists could exploit both to mount attacks and attract new recruits. The paper also explores the extent to which the pandemic might make western societies more vulnerable to terrorism in the longer term. Salafi-jihadist and far-right extremists have greeted the COVID-19 crisis with enthusiasm, viewing its impact on the West as both vindicating and advancing their ideologies and objectives. However, despite the calls for attacks on social media, the pandemic’s lockdowns, increased surveillance, travel restrictions, and the heavy police and military presence on the ground have created a challenging environment for terrorist operations. The security services have been drawn directly into the campaign against the corona virus. This has diverted resources and assets away from counterterrorism duties in the short term, which might create potential opportunities for terrorists. As a result of the pandemic, governments will need to review national security priorities in the longer term. This is likely to result in a much greater emphasis on domestic and international public health issues. Counterterrorism may not retain its post 9/11 position in the hierarchy of western national security priorities.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: John L. Clarke
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis has caused leaders in all affected countries to turn to their armed forces for support in an ever-expanding range of roles. Armed forces are being tasked to provide capabilities that in many instances go beyond what they have provided in past crises. As the crisis progresses and tragedy intensifies, the armed forces may appear to be the last resort available—the ultima ratio—to decision-makers. It must be expected that these demands will continue to mount even if the current crisis abates, as it is sure to remain a top national concern for months to come. This paper examines the range of roles that armed forces have taken on within the context of this crisis and places those roles, mission, tasks, and function within a scheme of six mission sets that comprise the defense support to civil authority (DSCA) rubric. The paper goes on to set forth a half-dozen considerations for decision-makers to contemplate before asking the armed forces to undertake these roles. In the current pandemic crisis, many of the tasks inherent in the DSCA rubric have been prominent in the demands by political leaders for armed forces support, such as the provision of essential services (many logistical and medical in nature) as well as search capabilities, decontamination operations, and engineering support. For example, armed forces in Italy, Spain, France, and the United States, just to name a few, have built and staffed medical facilities; transported virus patients; delivered food supplies; searched buildings for victims; and decontaminated residences and public facilities, such as train stations and airports. In addition, armed forces organizations have provided mortuary services, including the transportation and cremation of virus victims’ remains, which, of course, are contaminated. Photos of Italian Army units have shown convoys of trucks loaded with coffins. Soldiers have also provided medical support to overwhelmed facilities. Soldiers have been photographed administering tests for the virus, moving patients within hospitals, and providing basic services, such as changing bed pans and providing meals, all in a contaminated environment. French military aircraft, equipped for medical evacuation, have transported virus patients to less-stressed medical facilities in France.
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Leadership, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Giovanni Tria, Angelo Arcelli, Robert Fay
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges for all economies, and for the financial sector, in 2020. At the same time, the crisis also brings material opportunities for beneficial change. Policy makers, regulators and governments have the chance to rethink the evolution of the financial systems and international relations to make them fit-for-purpose for what could now be called a “new normal,” where green finance and sustainability will likely become key pillars of the post-pandemic world. Discussions as part of the Financial Regulatory Outlook partnership between CIGI and Oliver Wyman, held virtually on November 23, 2020, focused on how policy makers and financial services leaders can help the industry navigate the risks they face during and after the pandemic and, as a result, build more resilient economies and financial systems for the future.
  • Topic: Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus