Europe

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Juan Pablo Cuesta Aguirre and Mrs. Swarnali A Hannan
To shed light on the possible scarring effects from Covid-19, this paper studies the economic effects of five past pandemics using local projections on a sample of fifty-five countries over 1990-2019. The findings reveal that pandemics have detrimental medium-term effects on output, unemployment, poverty, and inequality. However, policies can go a long way toward alleviating suffering and fostering an inclusive recovery. The adverse output effects are limited for countries that provided relatively greater fiscal support. The increases in unemployment, poverty, and inequality are likewise lower for countries with relatively greater fiscal support and relatively stronger initial conditions (as defined by higher formality, family benefits, and health spending per capita).
Mr. Ravi Balakrishnan, Sandra Lizarazo, Marika Santoro, Mr. Frederik G Toscani, and Mr. Mauricio Vargas
Over the past decades, inequality has risen not just in advanced economies but also in many emerging market and developing economies, becoming one of the key global policy challenges. And throughout the 20th century, Latin America was associated with some of the world’s highest levels of inequality. Yet something interesting happened in the first decade and a half of the 21st century. Latin America was the only region in the World to have experienced significant declines in inequality in that period. Poverty also fell in Latin America, although this was replicated in other regions, and Latin America started from a relatively low base. Starting around 2014, however, and even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, poverty and inequality gains had already slowed in Latin America and, in some cases, gone into reverse. And the COVID-19 shock, which is still playing out, is likely to dramatically worsen short-term poverty and inequality dynamics. Against this background, this departmental paper investigates the link between commodity prices, and poverty and inequality developments in Latin America.
Mr. Benedicte Baduel, Asel Isakova, and Anna Ter-Martirosyan
Sharing economic benefits equitably across all segments of society includes addressing the specific challenges of different generations. At present, youth and elderly are particularly vulnerable to poverty relative to adults in their middle years. Broad-based policies should aim to foster youth integration into the labor market and ensure adequate income and health care support for the elderly. Turning to the intergenerational dimension, everyone should have the same chances in life, regardless of their family background. Policies that promote social mobility include improving access to high-quality care and education starting from a very early age, supporting lifelong learning, effective social protection schemes, and investing in infrastructure and other services to reduce spatial segregation.
Mr. Jean-Jacques Hallaert
Absolute poverty has dropped markedly in Bulgaria but income inequality has increased substantially in the aftermath of the GFC. This increase is due to a rise in market income inequality that was compounded by a reduction in fiscal redistribution. The redistributive role of direct taxation has declined with the introduction of a flat tax and social spending is relatively low and decreasing (as a share of GDP), is concentrated on a few social risks, and experienced a decline in its redistributive efficiency. The COVID-19 crisis is likely to deepen income inequality, increasing the room for redistributive policies.