How Pandemics Leave the Poor Even Farther Behind

Reducing poverty and improving equity
Posted May 14, 2020 | IMF, Davide Furceri, Prakash Loungani, Jonathan Ostry

The COVID-19 crisis is the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression. In January 2020, the IMF expected global income to grow three percent; it is now forecast to fall by three percent, much worse than during the Great Recession of 2008. In this IMF blog, Davide Furceri, Prakash Loungani, and Jonathan Ostry argue that if past pandemics are any guide, the toll on poorer and vulnerable segments of society will be severe, in part through its disproportionate impact on low-skilled workers. They note that major epidemics have raised income inequality and hurt employment prospects of those with only a basic education, while scarcely affecting employment of people with advanced degrees.


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