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Mr. Zamid Aligishiev, Mr. Giovanni Melina, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
This note is a user’s manual for the DIGNAR-19 toolkit, an application aimed at facilitating the use of the DIGNAR-19 model by economists with no to little knowledge of Matlab and Dynare via a user-friendly Excel-based interface. he toolkit comprises three tools—the simulation tool, the graphing tool, and the realism tool—that translate the contents of an Excel input file into instructions for Matlab/Dynare programs. These programs are executed behind the scenes. Outputs are saved in a separate Excel file and can also be visualized in customizable charts.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Denmark entered the pandemic on a strong economic footing and utilized its large policy space built over time to successfully address the crisis and lay the ground for a strong recovery. The outlook is for a rebound in activity, but uncertainty remains elevated with risks tilted to the downside. Macrofinancial vulnerabilities persist as housing price growth has accelerated and household debt remains high. The current account declined but remains in surplus.
Mr. John C Bluedorn, Francesca G Caselli, Mr. Niels-Jakob H Hansen, Mr. Ippei Shibata, and Ms. Marina Mendes Tavares
Early evidence on the pandemic’s effects pointed to women’s employment falling disproportionately, leading observers to call a “she-cession.” This paper documents the extent and persistence of this phenomenon in a quarterly sample of 38 advanced and emerging market economies. We show that there is a large degree of heterogeneity across countries, with over half to two-thirds exhibiting larger declines in women’s than men’s employment rates. These gender differences in COVID-19’s effects are typically short-lived, lasting only a quarter or two on average. We also show that she-cessions are strongly related to COVID-19’s impacts on gender shares in employment within sectors.
Diala Al Masri, Valentina Flamini, and Mr. Frederik G Toscani
We document the short-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Brazilian labor market focusing on employment, wages and hours worked using the nationally representative household surveys PNAD-Continua and PNAD COVID. Sectors most susceptible to the shock because they are more contact-intensive and less teleworkable, such as construction, domestic services and hospitality, suffered large job losses and reductions in hours. Given low income workers experienced the largest decline in earnings, extreme poverty and the Gini coefficient based on labor income increased by around 9.2 and 5 percentage points, respectively, due to the immediate shock. The government’s broad based, temporary Emergency Aid transfer program more than offset the labor income losses for the bottom four deciles, however, such that poverty relative to the pre-COVID baseline fell. At a cost of around 4 percent of GDP in 2020 such support is not fiscally sustainable beyond the short-term and ended in late 2020. The challenge will be to avoid a sharp increase in poverty and inequality if the labor market does not pick up sufficiently fast in 2021.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Germany managed the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic relatively well thanks to an early and vigorous public health response. Nonetheless, unprecedented disruptions to economic and social activity caused a deep recession in the first half of 2020. The gradual easing of containment measures since late-April has led to a partial revival of growth, but in late-October a “lockdown light” was announced to counter a new wave of infections, and restrictions were further tightened in mid-December. Significant risks remain about the pace and extent of the recovery as the uncertain course of the epidemic continues to impact economic activity.
John P. Ansah, Mr. Natan P. Epstein, and Valeriu Nalban
We develop an integrated epidemiological-macroeconomic model to analyze the interplay between the COVID-19 outbreak and economic activity, as a tool for capacity building purposes. We illustrate a workhorse framework that combines a rich epidemiological model with an economic block to shed light on the tradeoffs between saving lives and preserving economic outcomes under various mitigation policies and scenarios calibrated for emerging market and developing economies. In our benchmark setup, we link the effective contact frequency and labor supply decisions to the current state of the disease progression, allowing for relevant behavioral responses that introduce multiple feedback channels. We showcase the effects of various “smart” mitigation measures, e.g. improved quarantine capacity or targeted labor market restrictions, to alleviate the tradeoffs between health-related outcomes and economic activity, including in response to a second infection wave. The discovery of treatment or vaccine, and the possibility of temporary immunity for the recovered individuals are also considered. The model is further extended to a multisector framework to analyze the sectoral allocation effects of the COVID-19 shock.
Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Veronika Penciakova, and Nick Sander
We estimate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on business failures among small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in seventeen countries using a large representative firm-level database. We use a simple model of firm cost-minimization and measure each firm’s liquidity shortfall during and after COVID-19. Our framework allows for a rich combination of sectoral and aggregate supply, productivity, and demand shocks. We estimate a large increase in the failure rate of SMEs under COVID-19 of nearly 9 percentage points, ab-sent government support. Accommodation & Food Services, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Education, and Other Services are among the most affected sectors. The jobs at risk due to COVID-19 related SME business failures represent 3.1 percent of private sector employment. Despite the large impact on business failures and employment, we estimate only moderate effects on the financial sector: the share of Non Performing Loans on bank balance sheets would increase by up to 11 percentage points, representing 0.3 percent of banks’ assets and resulting in a 0.75 percentage point decline in the common equity Tier-1 capital ratio. We evaluate the cost and effectiveness of various policy interventions. The fiscal cost of an intervention that narrowly targets at risk firms can be modest (0.54% of GDP). However, at a similar level of effectiveness, non-targeted subsidies can be substantially more expensive (1.82% of GDP). Our results have important implications for the severity of the COVID-19 recession, the design of policies, and the speed of the recovery.
Nina Biljanovska and Alexandros Vardoulakis
We study how financial frictions amplify labor supply shocks in a macroeconomic model with occasionally binding financing constraints. Workers supply labor to entrepreneurs who borrow to purchase factors of production. Borrowing capacity is restricted by the value of capital, generating a pecuniary externality when financing constraints bind. Additionally, there is a distributive externality operating through wages. The planner’s allocation can be decentralized with two instruments: a credit tax/subsidy and a labor tax/subsidy. Labor shocks, such as the COVID-19 shock, amplify the policy responses, which critically depend on whether financing constraints bind or not.