Global economy

Kevin Daly, Tadas Gedminas, Clemens Grafe, 20 May 2020

Although the COVID-19 crisis is a global phenomenon, emerging market economies are in a weaker position than developed economies to absorb its fiscal costs. This column assesses the impact of the crisis on government deficits and debt levels in emerging markets, and the fiscal adjustments that are likely to be required in the aftermath of the crisis. The findings suggest that median government debt will rise by around ten percentage points of GDP and that most emerging economies will face painful post-crisis adjustments. The results also imply a strikingly wide range of outcomes across emerging economies around the world.

Ramin Baghai, Rui Silva, Viktor Thell, Vikrant Vig, 18 May 2020

Businesses worldwide are reeling from the fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and a surge in bankruptcies is expected. Using micro-data and a large sample of Swedish bankruptcies from 2003 to 2011, this column documents how firms lose workers with the highest cognitive and noncognitive skills as they approach bankruptcy. Historical analysis suggests that the current high levels of leverage, combined with the reliance on skilled labour in modern firms, will pose unique challenges to businesses trying to weather the storm ahead.

Ayça Tekin-Koru, 14 May 2020

The strict and prolonged age-specific containment measures in Turkey have both reduced infection/death rates and enabled less strict restrictions for the lower-risk groups. This column reviews Turkey’s response and examines the real-time effects of the COVID-19 crisis on production in Turkey. If finds that the targeted containment measures appear to have helped reduce a contraction in production that could have been much worse with a uniform lockdown. It also finds that the major brunt of the health crisis in terms of its human costs has been borne by the working class.

Jamus Lim, 11 May 2020

Large fiscal expenditures, as well as more loans by households and firms, will lead to sharp increases in public and private debt in the near future. The resulting debt burdens may impact both post-lockdown economic recovery and medium-run growth prospects. This column presents evidence on the effects of the total debt burden on output dynamics. The results suggest increases in total debt to GDP have significant negative effects on growth. Helping economies recover from the dramatic COVID-19 shock will require tackling both public and private borrowing. 

Ilan Noy, Nguyen Doan, Benno Ferrarini, Donghyun Park, 01 May 2020

The economic risk of an epidemic is distinct from its health risk. In the case of COVID-19, financial and institutional capacity are key determinants of an economy’s resilience to the shock. This column assesses the economic risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic across the world. The evidence shows that economic risks are especially high in Africa, Iran, South and Southeast Asia. Although healthcare systems are better equipped to handle the crisis than in previous pandemics, the globalisation of trade and labour flows will likely amplify the risks to the global economy.

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