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Lives and Livelihoods : Estimates of the Global Mortality and Poverty Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic (English)

This paper evaluates the global welfare consequences of increases in mortality and poverty generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Increases in mortality are measured in terms of the number of years of life lost (LY) to the pandemic. Additional years spent in poverty (PY) are conservatively estimated using growth estimates for 2020 and two different scenarios for its distributional characteristics. Using years of life as a welfare metric yields a single parameter that captures the underlying trade-off between lives and livelihoods: how many PYs have the same welfare cost as one LY. Taking an agnostic view of this parameter, estimates of LYs and PYs are compared across countries for different scenarios. Three main findings arise. First, as of early June 2020, the pandemic (and the observed private and policy responses) has generated at least 68 million additional poverty years and 4.3 million years of life lost across 150 countries. The ratio of PYs to LYs is very large in most countries, suggesting that the poverty consequences of the crisis are of paramount importance. Second, this ratio declines systematically with GDP per capita: poverty accounts for a much greater share of the welfare costs in poorer countries. Finally, the dominance of poverty over mortality is reversed in a counterfactual "herd immunity" scenario: without any policy intervention, LYs tend to be greater than PYs, and the overall welfare losses are greater.


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    Decerf,Benoit, Ferreira,Francisco H. G., Mahler,Daniel Gerszon, Sterck,Olivier

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    Policy Research Working Paper

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    The World Region,

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    Lives and Livelihoods : Estimates of the Global Mortality and Poverty Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic

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    development research group; life expectancy at birth; poverty in developing country; global burden of disease; Below the Poverty Line; in poverty; human life; death by age; population by age; increase in mortality; mortality by age; health care system; social welfare function; international poverty line; global economic prospect; increase in inequality; shock poverty; extreme poverty line; second world war; median poverty line; million people; welfare costs; baseline scenario; welfare consequence; premature mortality; global poverty; richer countries; optimal policy; calendar year; poverty threshold; expected utility; job loss; good policy; public debate; poverty estimate; poverty consequences; time t; infection rate; population data; income loss; age category; assessing welfare; health issue; reducing inequality; human mobility; welfare comparison; scatter plot; optimal intervention; increased mortality; mortality risk; age distribution; income category; welfare analysis; available evidence; cohort study; demographic structure; health consequence; public health; school closure; incidence curve; Early childhood; Child development; economic shock; systematic analysis; Economic Inequality; pandemic start; public intervention; individual utility; Poverty measures; empirical estimate; several times; macroeconomic outcome; data issue; alternative policy; conceptual framework; utility function; dollar value; negative welfare; income class; population pyramid; mortality data; increase poverty; welfare outcome; demographic characteristic; healthy individual; heart problems; food insecurity; open access; shadow price; development policy; Health Economics; discount factor; welfare metric; Research Support; economic crisis; infected individuals; social distance; missing data; age pyramid; political debate; result data; informed voter; global welfare; behavioral response; population health; great depression; democratic regime; behavior change; methodological choice; conservative approach



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Decerf,Benoit Ferreira,Francisco H. G. Mahler,Daniel Gerszon Sterck,Olivier

Lives and Livelihoods : Estimates of the Global Mortality and Poverty Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 9277,COVID-19 (Coronavirus),Paper is funded by the Knowledge for Change Program (KCP) Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.