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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

and virus containment . Labor Market Surveys Indicate Rising Inequality The COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll on Asia’s labor market. High-frequency labor market indicators have deteriorated markedly and to a much greater extent than during the global financial crisis. Aggregate hours worked have declined both at the extensive (employment rate) and intensive margins (hours worked per employee). Unemployment has surged and labor force participation plunged—an early sign of scarring effects. As in the United States ( Shibata 2020 ) and the United Kingdom

Mariya Brussevich, Shihui Liu, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
The paper extends the work of Deaton (2021) by exploring the period of post-crisis recovery in 2021-2024. The paper documents per-capita income divergence during the period of post-shock recovery, with countries at the bottom of the income distribution falling significantly behind. Findings suggest that higher COVID-19 vaccination rates and targeted virus containment measures are associated with faster recovery in per-capita incomes in the medium term. Evidence on the effectiveness of economic support policies for reducing cross-country income inequality, including fiscal and monetary policies, is mixed especially in the case of developing countries.
Mariya Brussevich, Shihui Liu, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou

econometric techniques to measure the contribution of various variables to the observed changes in per-capita incomes: (i) two model averaging techniques, including Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) and Weighted Average Least Squares (WALS); and (ii) a machine-learning technique—Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO). We find that higher COVID-19 vaccination rates and targeted virus containment measures are associated with faster recovery in per-capita incomes in the post-shock recovery period. Evidence on the impact of the economic support policies, both

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

youth, and so is increasing inequality. These distributional effects could be even larger in the medium term as robots displace low-skilled workers, and the resulting higher levels of inequality could undermine social cohesion. Policies should be targeted to mitigate the pandemic’s adverse distributional consequences and so underpin overall economic activity and virus containment.

Ms. Emilia M Jurzyk, Medha Madhu Nair, Nathalie Pouokam, Tahsin Saadi Sedik, and Mrs. Irina Yakadina
The COVID-19 pandemic risks exacerbating inequality in Asia. High frequency labor surveys show that the pandemic is having particularly adverse effects on younger workers, women and people that are more vulnerable. Pandemics have been shown to increase inequalities. As a result, income inequality, which was already high and rising in Asia before the pandemic, is likely to rise further over the medium term, unless policies succeed in breaking this historical pattern. Many Asian governments have implemented significant fiscal policy measures to mitigate the pandemic’s effect on the most vulnerable, with the impact depending on the initial coverage of safety nets, fiscal space, and degree of informality and digitalization. The paper includes model-based analysis which shows that policies targeted to where needs are greatest are effective in mitigating adverse distributional consequences and underpinning overall economic activity and virus containment.