Inequality under the COVID-19 Pandemic
Everyone is at risk from COVID-19, but all have not suffered equally. Early indications point to an unequal pattern of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, posing significant risks to long-term equity and social mobility.
Data from World Bank’s rapid phone surveys launched in April 2020 across all developing regions to monitor the impact of the crisis on households show that, on average, more than one-third of those working before the pandemic stopped working when lockdowns were imposed and more than 60% of households lost some income. Income losses and hunger were more common among households in poorer countries. Within countries, employment and income losses were felt most acutely by vulnerable workers, women, youth and the less educated.
Lower incomes often translated into food insecurity for disadvantaged households, and a large fraction of children in poorer families, particularly those in low-income countries, have not had access to learning during school closures. To prevent the pandemic from starting a downward cycle into further inequality, urgent policy action is required.
- Chair: Indermit Gill, Vice President, Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions
- Presenters: David Newhouse, Senior Economist, Poverty & Equity Global Practice; Miriam Muller, Social Scientist, Poverty & Equity Global Practice; Ambar Narayan, Lead Economist, Poverty & Equity Global Practice
- Panelists: Carolina Sánchez-Páramo, Global Director, Poverty & Equity; Vivi Yulaswati, Senior Advisor to the Minister of National Development Planning for Social Affairs and Poverty Reduction; Abigail Adams-Prassl, Associate Professor, University of Oxford; Jonathan Rothwell, Principal Economist, Gallup; Shameran Abed, Senior Director, Microfinance and Ultra-poor graduation, BRAC International
- Moderator: Elizabeth Howton, Senior External Affairs Officer, World Bank
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