François Bourguignon on COVID-19 and inequality

WIDER Webinar Series

François Bourguignon on COVID-19 and inequality

François Bourguignon joins the WIDER Webinar Series to discuss the impact the pandemic has had on global poverty and inequality.

The impact of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 on poverty and inequality

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented social and economic crisis, and set back progress on reducing global poverty. But what is the concrete impact of the economic crisis on poverty and inequality?

Limited observations and basic reasoning suggest that, from a health point of view,  the COVID-19 crisis affected the urban informal sector more than the modern sector or agriculture in most developing countries. On the economic side, however, the crisis is more likely to have the same effects as a severe global recession. Taking these two sets of factors into account, François Bourguignon will discuss the extent of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, and try to figure out its likely effects on national and global inequality.

Discussant Marta Roig will share insights on the policy implications of the impact of COVID-19 on inequality, and what the international development community can do in this respect.

UNU-WIDER Director Kunal Sen will chair the event.

About the speakers

François Bourguignon is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics. He was the director of the Paris School from 2007 to 2013. Before that he was the Chief Economist and Senior Vice-president of the World Bank in Washington. He spent most of his research career as a Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. His work bears mainly upon inequality and corrective policies in developed and developing countries as well as at the global level. He has authored a large number of academic papers and books. He is also active in the international development community, lecturing and advising leading international agencies as well as governments.

Marta Roig is the Chief of the Emerging Issues and Trends Section at the Division for Inclusive Social Development of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Marta has over 20 years of experience in conducting policy research and analysis related to inequality, employment, international migration and their linkages to development. Marta, an economist and demographer by training, started her career at the Institut national d’études démographiques, in France, and worked at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and with the UN Population Division before taking her current position.