SPACE Understanding the Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Who, Where, How, and When? |

Submitted by rruggia on Sun, 07/26/2020 - 09:28

It is essential to understand ‘Who’ will be affected, ‘Where’, ‘How’ and ‘When’ to better understand the ‘What’ of the social protection response to COVID-19.

Social protection is recognised as an essential mechanism to reach those who are in urgent need because of the COVID-19 crisis, and efforts are under way to scale up systems, so they can be ‘shock responsive’. What is needed next, however, is a much more disaggregated view, based on an understanding of who will be affected, how, and when so as to better understand the ‘what’ of the social protection response. While ultimately country-level assessments will be most useful for specific policy recommendations, this note sets out a framework for some of the key considerations.

The main takeaway from this note is that it is essential to first understand which livelihood groups are most likely to (i) be severely impacted and (ii) lack the resilience to withstand such an acute shock.

It is very likely that in many places, this will not necessarily be the same as either the usual social protection caseload or the target population for ‘business as usual’ humanitarian assistance. This will require innovative thinking in terms of how to reach those who are most in need, as: •

  • ‘Vertical’ expansions of existing programmes (topping up what current recipients receive)would not solve the problem of reaching those most affected by COVID-19. 
  • Well-designed expansion of coverage will be needed, either via ‘horizontal expansions’ of existing programmes or new programmes that leverage (‘piggyback on’) existing systems to the extent possible1 . These new programmes may be led by the social protection sector or other actors (e.g. humanitarians). Either way, targeting will need to be considered very carefully, as even where social registries are in place, they may systematically exclude those most in need as a result of COVID-19 (depending on their design and implementation ).

For further details, Annex A discusses the context and channels of impact, while Annex B looks at the ‘who’, ‘where’, ‘how’, and ‘when’ of these impacts. The following sections discuss the main insights from the more in-depth analysis contained in Annex B.

Measure date
Document Type