VoxEU & CEPR Coverage of the Covid-19 Global Pandemic

Francesca Caselli, Francesco Grigoli, Pedro Rente Lourenço, Damiano Sandri, Antonio Spilimbergo, 15 January 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic is having very unequal effects across people. Using unique aggregated and anonymised mobility indicators provided by Vodafone for Italy, Portugal, and Spain, this column shows that lockdowns have had a larger impact on the mobility of women and younger cohorts. Younger people also experienced a sharper drop in mobility in response to rising COVID-19 infections. The findings warn about a possible widening of gender and inter-generational inequality and provide important inputs for the formulation of targeted policies.  

Lorenzo Forni, Philip Turner, 15 January 2021

Dollar bond issuance by non-US companies has dominated foreign borrowing since the global crisis. In many emerging markets, higher leverage and currency mismatches have increased the risk of corporate insolvencies and created new threats to the balance sheets of local banks. This column documents the financial risks created by these recent trends and outlines the necessary implications for regulatory policy. In addition to regulation, financial fragilities have added to demands for fiscal stimulus and led some emerging market central banks to ease monetary policy by buying government bonds, creating new links with fiscal policy. 

Barry Eichengreen, Balazs Csonto, Asmaa El-Ganainy, Zsoka Koczan, 14 January 2021

Global inequality has fallen in recent decades, but within-country inequality has risen in a significant number of national economies during the same period.  This column identifies the channels through which financial globalisation accentuates inequality and suggests how these could be mitigated by accompanying policies.  

Olli Rehn, 13 January 2021

Global population ageing will lead to a trend reversal, with saving rates falling, real wages increasing, and greater inflationary pressures. The change in China’s economic model from forced saving towards increased consumption is amplifying this trend. This column reviews a new book by Charles Goodhart and Manoj Pradhan in which the authors examine megatrends reshaping societies and economies. Whether they are proved right or wrong, their arguments should prompt a much-needed reflection on widely held assumptions about future developments.

Tatyana Deryugina, Nolan Miller, David Molitor, Julian Reif, 13 January 2021

Policies aimed at reducing the harmful effects of air pollution on human health typically focus on improving air quality in polluted areas. This column suggests a shift in focus from targeting the most polluted places to serving the most vulnerable people. Basing air quality regulations on pollution levels may be less valuable than reducing air pollution in regions with vulnerable populations. Programmes that reduce poverty or improve access to health care may also lessen the recipients’ susceptibility to acute pollution exposure.

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