Simulations of Policy Responses and Interventions to Promote Inclusive Adaptation to and Recovery from the COVID-19 Crisis in Ecuador
David Robalino, Juan
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COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the economy and the health of households around the world. In this study, we evaluate the economic impact of COVID-19, as well as the effect of government interventions aimed at alleviating it, on the welfare of Ecuadorian households in terms of income shocks, poverty rates, and inequality. The empirical strategy used is to measure mean income shock by gender and economic sector based on cross-sectional data from December 2019, May 2020, and September 2020, and use these estimates to simulate individual income shocks from the December 2019 data. This allows us to disaggregate our analysis by demographic and employment profile in order to identify groups at risk and help guide future government COVID recovery programs. We find that by May 2019, poverty had more than doubled, reaching 57%, and average income had fallen by more than 50%. Informal workers, rural populations, indigenous households, and households with young kids were among those most affected. Government interventions thus far have had a negligible effect in the aggregate, but they may have been crucial for the subsistence of households below the poverty line.