Working Paper
Recovery with distress: unpacking COVID-19 impact on livelihoods and poverty in Bangladesh

The social and ecomomic impact of COVID-19 has been deep, wide-ranging, and multi-dimensional. While anecdotal evidence of distress among the poor, particularly those with informal occupations, has been widespread, effective policy response has required real-time, researched data disaggregated for urban and rural populations and for various categories of the poor.

The Power and Partcipation Research Centre and BRAC Institute for Governance and Development’s four-round panel survey during 2020–21 provides unique insights into how COVID-19 impacted specific categories of the poor and vulnerable in Bangladesh, their coping strategies, and the extent to which policy support materialzed.

While the poor as a whole demonstrated their agency in the face of the crisis, their resilience has been as much about deepening vulnerability as about recovery, representing an unfair burden of distress resilience. Informal workers, women, and the urban poor have been disproportionately impacted.