Investigating Initial Policy Responses to COVID-19: Evidence Across 59 Countries
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We conduct a review of different support measures adopted by 59 countries as an immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic using an inclusive development lens across five key areas – health and safety, welfare, finance and credit, taxes and fees and structural measures. Using the information that a policy response was announced or implemented immediately, we propose and provide proxy measures for ‘access’, ‘short-term cover’ and ‘medium- to long-term adequacy’ using secondary data. Then, we construct a COVID-19 Response Inclusiveness (CRI) score – to capture the extent of ‘inclusiveness’ inherent in the support across populations, particularly for the marginalised and more vulnerable. We define and capture inclusion as the equitable distribution of social and economic gains, enhanced well-being and capabilities, with social and political empowerment. Finally, using simple cross-country regressions, we find the initial COVID-19 cases, changes in mobility and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita as key characteristics that were significantly associated with our measured extent of inclusiveness in countries’ response packages in the immediate aftermath of the crisis.