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  • Author: Joelle M. Abi-Rached, Pascale Salameh
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: As countries begin to roll out vaccination for COVID-19, the Lebanese caretaker government has yet to provide details about its vaccination strategy, raising concerns about its ability to provide vaccines due to the country’s economic and governance crisis. This paper, written by public health professionals, raises a number of questions about the vaccination strategy that the government should address and calls for an open, inclusive, and transparent process to placate the worries of citizens given the privatization and politicization of the country’s health sector.
  • Topic: Public Health, Vaccine, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Julia Leininger, Christoph Strupat, Yonas Adeto, Abebe Shimeles, Wilson Wasike
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Direct and indirect effects' of the Covid-19 pandemic on the prospects of structural transformation in Africa are at the core of this study. It is comprehensive and identifies patterns of country groups. Social cohesion matters for effective policy responses and longer-term sustainable development.
  • Topic: Sustainable Development Goals, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: During the pandemic, Chinese medical and equipment supplies to Chile have come mostly from a diverse cast of Chinese players with local experience in Chile. They adapted to Chile’s unique system of emergency and disaster management. China has become a global power, but there is too little debate about how this has happened and what it means. Many argue that China exports its developmental model and imposes it on other countries. But Chinese players also extend their influence by working through local actors and institutions while adapting and assimilating local and traditional forms, norms, and practices. With a generous multiyear grant from the Ford Foundation, Carnegie has launched an innovative body of research on Chinese engagement strategies in seven regions of the world—Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, the Pacific, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Through a mix of research and strategic convening, this project explores these complex dynamics, including the ways Chinese firms are adapting to local labor laws in Latin America, Chinese banks and funds are exploring traditional Islamic financial and credit products in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and Chinese actors are helping local workers upgrade their skills in Central Asia. These adaptive Chinese strategies that accommodate and work within local realities are mostly ignored by Western policymakers in particular. Ultimately, the project aims to significantly broaden understanding and debate about China’s role in the world and to generate innovative policy ideas. These could enable local players to better channel Chinese energies to support their societies and economies; provide lessons for Western engagement around the world, especially in developing countries; help China’s own policy community learn from the diversity of Chinese experience; and potentially reduce frictions.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Disaster Relief, Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South America, Chile
  • Author: Jason Furman, Melissa Kearney, Wilson Powell III
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This working paper examines how much of the overall decline in employment between the beginning of 2020 and 2021 can be explained by excess job loss among parents of young children, and mothers specifically. Using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the authors confirm that, in general, mothers with young children have experienced a larger decline in employment, as compared (unconditionally) with other adults, including fathers. This excess job loss is driven by mothers without a four-year college degree. The main point of the paper is to build off this observation and examine how much of the aggregate employment deficit in early 2021 can be explained by parent-specific issues, such as childcare struggles. To examine this question, the authors construct counterfactual employment rates and labor force participation rates that assign to mothers of young children the percent change in employment and labor force participation rates experienced by comparable women without young children. The paper considers multiple definition, sample, and counterfactual specification alternatives. The analysis yields robust evidence that differential job loss among mothers of young children accounts for a negligible share of the ongoing aggregate employment deficit. The result is even stronger (and flips signs) if all parents are considered, since fathers with young children experienced less job loss than other men. The practical implication of these findings is that nearly all of the aggregate ongoing employment deficit is explained by factors that affect workers more broadly, as opposed to challenges specific to working parents.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Children, Pandemic, COVID-19, Childcare
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Risto Rönkkö, Stuart Rutherford, Kunal Sen
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper, we examine the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of the poor. We use an unusually rich data set from a ‘financial diaries’ study known as the Hrishipara Daily Diaries Project. The data set tracks the economic and financial transactions of 60 individuals and their families in a semi-rural setting in Bangladesh on a real-time basis from October 2019 to September 2020. We document individual diarists’ behavioural responses to COVID-19, which reveal the varied experiences of the poor during the pandemic. We find that the pandemic and associated government lockdowns had significant negative effects on the livelihoods of the poor in our study, with financial inflows and outflows, incomes, and household expenditures below pre-pandemic levels during the pandemic period. To cope with the pandemic, households drew down on their cash reserves at home, as well as cutting down on non-food expenditures to protect their spending on food.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Finance, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia
  • 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: Raed Helles, Nevin Abdel Aal, Ahmed Al-Sammak
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pal-Think For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The economy of Palestine is led to a recession and has had serious ramifications–mostly in a time of COVID-19 as a result of the strict adherence and concrete actions instituted by the government to help avert the disease from spreading in the enclave. However, the consequences of COVID extend to correlate the future of Palestine, not by affecting its individuals and governments only, but also all its sectors due to the loss of income for thousands of citizens. According to World Bank studies, in comparing with 2019, which witnessed difficult economic conditions for several reasons, including the Palestinian fiscal revenue leakage and the suspension of American aid, the economy might get down this year by 7.6% if Palestine returns gradually to normal and by 11% if the tough restrictions continue to be imposed.
  • Topic: Economy, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Mma Amara Ekeruchera
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA)
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 outbreak began in December 2019 in the Wuhan city of China and has continued to spread globally. As of this writing, 28.2 million cases have been recorded globally with 910,000 deaths. Aside the health impact, the pandemic has led to an unprecedented disruption in economic activities, initiating a sudden demand, supply, and financial shock. The mitigation strategies put in place by governments across the world to curb the virus as well as the uncertainty associated with the pandemic has led to a reduction in the consumption of non-essential commodities. Meanwhile, disruptions to global supply chains in a closely connected world as well as the reduced demand have necessitated a slowdown in production. Furthermore, investors have become more risk averse with the prices of risk assets falling to levels experienced in the 2007-20008 global financial crisis. To counteract the fall in private sector demand, stabilize the financial system, and ensure economic recovery, governments and central banks across the world have deployed a range of policies and programmes. Central banks are cutting policy rates and providing direct liquidity to the financial system. Federal and sub-national governments are providing tax relief, cash transfers, and employee retention schemes to alleviate the burden on affected individuals and businesses. Africa is not left behind as governments have increased spending plans (about 1.9% of their GDP) and central banks are adopting more accommodating monetary policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Monetary Policy, Central Bank, Macroeconomics, Pandemic, COVID-19, Socioeconomics , Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mathilde Tomine Eriskdatter Giske
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This research paper examines the concept 'resilience' as a response to the constantly changing environments and turbulence of the world. While resilience is used by several international organisations and nation states, there is still a lack of consensus regarding what the concept really means – it denotes both resisting change and being willing to adapt at the same time. This paper offers some clarity and argues that a temporal dimension is needed when applying the concept of resilience.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, International Organization, European Union, Pandemic, Resilience, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rosa Abraham, Amit Basole, Surbhi Kesar
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: Using the CMIE’s Consumer Pyramids Household Survey, we track a panel of households prior to the lockdown (in December 2019), during the lockdown (in April 2020) and afterwards (in August 2020) to investigate the employment and income effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated containment measures. We identify four distinct employment experiences during the pandemic for those who were in the workforce just prior to the lockdown: no loss of employment (“No effect”), loss of employment followed by recovery (“Recovery”), loss of employment with no recovery (“No recovery”), and a delayed loss of employment (“Delayed job loss”). Overall, 54% of individuals experienced no job loss, while 30% lost work in April but recovered by August. 12% had not recovered employment as of August 2020. We analyse how these trajectories vary across different social and economic characteristics to quantify contractions and recovery in the labour market and the extent to which the vulnerabilities vary across different social groups, employment arrangements, and industries. We find that women were substantially more likely to lose employment as well as less likely to recover employment. Job loss was also more severe for lower castes as compared to intermediate and upper castes and for daily wage workers as compared to regular wage workers. Younger workers were particularly vulnerable to job loss compared to older workers. Having lost employment in April, younger workers were also less likely to recover employment in August. Finally, for those who were employed in both December 2019 and August 2020, we examine the changes in employment arrangements. We find a much greater frequency of transitions from wage employment to self-employment, more than that in the seasonally comparable period last year (Dec 2018 to Aug 2019). Our results call for urgent additional fiscal measures to counteract these effects.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Unemployment, Pandemic, Job Creation, Consumerism
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Klaas de Vries, Abdul Erumban, Bart van Ark
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: This paper analyses quarterly estimates of productivity growth at industry level for three advanced economies, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, for 2020. We use detailed industry-level data to distinguish reallocations of working hours between industries from pure within-industry productivity gains or losses. We find that all three countries showed positive growth rates of aggregate output per hour in 2020 over 2019. However, after removing the effects from the reallocation of hours between low and high productivity industries, only the US still performed positively in terms of withinindustry productivity growth. In contrast, the two European economies showed negative within-industry productivity growth rates in 2020. While above-average digital-intensive industries outperformed belowaverage ones in both France and the UK, the US showed higher productivity growth in both groups compared to the European countries. Industries with medium-intensive levels of shares of employees working from home prior to the pandemic made larger productivity gains in 2020 than industries with the highest pre-pandemic work-from-home shares. The paper also experiments with US data on employment at county level by allocating within-industry productivity contributions for 2020 to urban, sub-urban and rural areas, showing that the contributions to within-industry productivity growth from manufacturing and other production industries in urban and sub-urban areas increased during the pandemic. Overall, after taking into account the productivity collapse in the hospitality and culture sector during 2020, productivity growth shows no clear deviation from the slowing pre-pandemic productivity trend. Future trends in productivity growth will depend on whether the favourable productivity gains (or smaller losses) in industries with above-average digital intensity will outweigh negative effects from the pandemic, in particular scarring effects on labour markets and business dynamics.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Work Culture, Pandemic, COVID-19, Productivity, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, France, United States of America
  • Author: Sara Stevano, Rosimina Ali, Merle Jamieson
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: School of Oriental and African Studies - University of London
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has shaken a foundational pillar of global capitalism: the organisation of work. Whilst workers have commonly been categorised based on skills, during the pandemic the ‘essential worker’ categorisation has taken prominence. This paper explores the concept of essential work from a global feminist social reproduction perspective. The global perspective is complemented by a zoom-in on Mozambique as a low-income country in the Global South, occupying a peripheral position in global and regional economies and with a large share of vulnerable and essential workers. We show that the meaning of essential work is more ambiguous and politicised than it may appear and, although it can be used as a basis to reclaim the value of socially reproductive work, its transformative potential hinges on the possibility to encompass the most precarious and transnational dimensions of (re)production.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Feminism, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Global South
  • Author: Michael Bayerlein, Vanessa A. Boese, Scott Gates, Katrin Kamin, S. Mansoob Murshed
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Populist parties and actors now govern various countries around the world. Often elected by the public in times of crises and over the perceived failure of ‘the elites’, the question stands as to how populist governments actually perform once elected, especially in times of crisis. Using the pandemic shock in the form of the COVID-19 crises, our paper answers the question of how populist governments handle the pandemic. We answer this question by introducing a theoretical framework according to which populist governments (1) enact less far-reaching policy measures to counter the pandemic and (2) lower the effort of citizens to counter the pandemic, so that populist governed countries are (3) hit worse by the pandemic. We test these propositions in a sample of 42 countries with weekly data from 2020. Employing econometric models, we find empirical support for our propositions and ultimately conclude that excess mortality in populist governed countries exceeds the excess mortality of conventional countries by 10 percentage points (i.e., 100%). Our findings have important implications for the assessment of populist government performance in general, as well as counter-pandemic measures in particular, by providing evidence that opportunistic and inadequate policy responses, spreading misinformation and downplaying the pandemic are strongly related to increases in COVID-19 mortality.
  • Topic: Governance, Populism, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Attiya Waris
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: There are multiple examples of solidarity taxes imposed across country contexts over previous decades. The solidarity taxes that were levied were done to mitigate effects of a crisis such as a pandemic, as well as rebuilding of nations that had been affected by world wars (examples include Zimbabwe and Germany). Considering the renewed interest in solidarity taxes in the wake of COVID-19, author Attiya Waris reviews the history of solidarity taxes, and discusses key lessons from the past, in addition to drawing these lessons and findings into policy reccomendations moving forward.
  • Topic: Tax Systems, Pandemic, COVID-19, Economic Recovery
  • Political Geography: Germany, Zimbabwe, Global Focus
  • Author: Matthias Basedau, Mora Deitch
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In spring 2020, observers and practitioners warned that COVID-19 would increase violence in sub-Saharan Africa by creating an economic shock that would lead to distributional conflicts and government repression. Compared to before the pandemic, violence did increase in 2020, rising by 40 and 60 per cent in terms of fatalities and events, respectively. Controlling for important confounders, COVID-19 proves significant to the increase in violence in many models; however, a robust effect can be found only for “COVID-19 unrest,” which forms a fraction of the violence and stems from the stringency of government reactions rather than the pandemic itself. Pre-pandemic fragility accounts best for the region’s rise in violence. Expert assessments confirm these findings but also yield evidence warning against prematurely announcing an all-clear. The fallout of the pandemic on conflict is likely to have a longer period of incubation, and there are initial indications that conditions will worsen.
  • Topic: Violence, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Mika Aaltola, Johanna Ketola, Aada Peltonen, Karoliina Vaakanainen
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although their timing and nature is unexpected and disrupts normality, pandemics are not black swans, but rather an expected feature of a feverishly con- nected and globalizing world. Since the end of the Cold War, there have been several serious cases of and close calls with pandemics, including SARS in 2003, H1N1 infuenza (“swine fu”) in 2009 and Ebola in 2014. By now, we know the usual features of pandemics, how they emerge and the shape of their temporal context: rapid onset leading to a politically compelling impact followed by decreasing attention and lessening restric- tive policies resulting, in some cases, in the return of the disease. Te most serious pandemics, like the 1918 infuenza pandemic (“Spanish fu”), come in waves. Te less restrictive policies are followed by subsequent waves, partially propelled by diminishing attention and wishful policies until a cure or vaccination is found, or immunity achieved. Despite the growing awareness, pandemic diseases nevertheless often catch us of guard and bring about human misery. Te latest form of Severe Acute Res- piratory Syndrome caused by a novel coronavirus, Covid-19, which spread like wildfre around the globe in 2020, came as a surprise even though the point of origin and secrecy surrounding its emergence were similar to that of its predecessor, SARS, in 2003. In other words, pandemics continue to include “un- known” aspects, which have to do with their specifc characteristics, perhaps most notably their timing, but also other features such as infection and fatality rates, patterns of spread, and the outbreak location zone(s). Our starting point in this Working Paper is that se- rious contagious diseases are political as their cascad- ing and nonlinear efects impact people’s livelihoods and disrupt normality. Tis applies to the most recent coronavirus pandemic, as highlighted in this paper. Te key research question concerns how the European Union (EU) and its member states, illustrated through the case of Finland, became aware of the prevailing health crisis, and the kind of political ramifications that the response had, and could have had. Te focus of this paper is on the frst two and a half months of the coronavirus pandemic, from January to mid-March 2020, by which time the pandemic had replaced the prevailing agendas in the EU and in its member states and saturated the public debate, reach- ing a tipping point. Te onset entails a build-up to a clear situational policy necessity, a sentiment that drastic, exceptional actions need to be taken to con- tain or at least to slow down the pandemic outbreak, as well as a remorseful debate and fnger-pointing at actions that should have been taken sooner. Te paper studies this build-up phase while recognizing that the next phase of political reaction to a pandemic tends to include the sentiment that enough has been done or even that the actions that were taken earlier were somewhat excessive and overblown.1 Tis phase may be followed by – and is an important constituent of – yet another phase, the second wave of the pandemic. The timeframe for the Working Paper extends to mid-March 2020 when Covid-19 became the prevail- ing topic of public concern in Europe. We refer to this prevalence as the tipping point. Te term tipping point is used to identify the critical juncture, both nation- ally as well as in the EU, when sudden changes to be- haviour took place at the public and political levels. At such moments, public attention becomes heightened, single-issue focused, and rushed. Te pressure for po- litical action becomes paramount. Te mobilization of resources as well as the introduction of diferent states of emergency suddenly seem possible. Te emergent, situational requirements become the context for pol- icymaking, instead of the requirements of the then prevailing normality; namely, exceptional political acts can prevail when urgency seems to necessitate them. Te situated characteristics of a pandemic include a heightened sense of exceptionality, particularly if there is a sense that prior preparations at national, regional, and global levels were inadequate and the contingency planning insufcient. Any delays and hesitations are easily seen as weaknesses although, in normal times, they are often the keys to stable and rational political deliberation. Tis was the scenario that actualized with Covid-19, as the preparedness planning for pandem- ic security was largely perceived as defcient and the global as well as the European regional coordination in short supply.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Thierry Mayer, Hillel Rapoport, Camilo Umana Dajud
  • Publication Date: 12-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: Many of the measures to contain Covid-19 severely reduced business travel. Using provisions to ease the movement of business visitors in trade agreements, we show that removing barriers to the movement of business people promotes trade. To do this, we first document the increasing complexity of Free Trade Agreements. We then develop an algorithm that combines machine learning and text analysis techniques to examine the content of FTAs. We use the algorithm to determine which FTAs include provisions to facilitate the movement of business people and whether those provisions are included in dispute settlement mechanisms. Using these data and accounting for the overall depth of FTAs, we show that provisions facilitating business travel indeed facilitate business travel (but not permanent migration) and, eventually, increase bilateral trade flows.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Business , Free Trade, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Patricio Goldstein, Eduardo Levy-Yeyati, Luca Sartorio
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) have been for most countries the key policy instrument utilized to contain the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article, we conduct an empirical analysis of the impact of these policies on the virus’ transmission and death toll, for a panel of 152 countries, from the start of the pandemic through December 31, 2020. We find that lockdowns tend to significantly reduce the spread of the virus and the number of related deaths. We also show that this benign impact declines over time: after four months of strict lockdown, NPIs have a significantly weaker contribution in terms of their effect in reducing COVID-19 related fatalities. Part of the fading effect of quarantines could be attributed to an increasing non-compliance with mobility restrictions, as reflected in our estimates of a declining effect of lockdowns on measures of actual mobility. However, we additionally find that a reduction in de facto mobility also exhibits a diminishing effect on health outcomes, which suggests that lockdown fatigues may have introduced broader hurdles to containment policies.
  • Topic: Crisis Management, Public Policy, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis, Lockdown Policies
  • Political Geography: Global Focus