DP16122 Will COVID-19 Have Long-Lasting Effects on Inequality? Evidence from Past Pandemics
This paper provides evidence on the impact of major epidemics from the past two decades on income distribution. The pandemics in our sample, even though much smaller in scale than COVID-19, have led to increases in the Gini coefficient, raised the income share of higher-income deciles, and lowered the employment-to-population ratio for those with basic education compared to those with higher education. We provide some evidence that the distributional consequences from the current pandemic may be larger than those flowing from the historical pandemics in our sample, and larger than those following typical recessions and financial crises.