Fiscal Austerity Intensifies The Increase In Inequality After Pandemics
– this post authored by Davide Furceri, Prakash Loungani, Jonathan D. Ostry, and Pietro Pizzuto
In the aftermath of past pandemics, fiscal policy played an important role in reducing or amplifying income inequality. This column predicts the likely distributional effects of Covid-19 by analysing evidence from five previous outbreaks (SARS, H1N1, MERS, Ebola, and Zika). It finds that severe austerity measures were associated with inequality increases three times greater than expansive fiscal policy following a pandemic. Premature austerity is self-defeating from both a macro and an equity standpoint.
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