COVID-19 and Social Protection Systems
The Evidence Behind Putting Money Directly in the Pockets of the Poor

Why have governments shifted to using cash in low and middle-income countries? Dr Kate Orkin discusses the evidence supporting cash-transfers and how governments are trying to cope with widespread economic shocks and job loss caused by COVID-19. 

Effective Social Protection in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Developing Countries

In this VoxDev talk, Clement Imbert and Kate Orkin discuss the tools available to policymakers in developing countries that best mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on society’s most vulnerable, including job retention schemes, low interest credit, and unconditional cash transfers. 

Arguing for Increases in Social Protection

How to prevent a hunger crisis due to COVID-19? Using examples from around the world and drawing on findings from rigorous research, Kate Orkin argues that cash-transfers are an effective tool for low and middle-income countries and debunks some of the negative myths surrounding them.

General Lessons for COVID-19
No Regrets: Urgent Action Needed for Education During COVID-19 Crisis

In the Oxford Science blog, Dr. Stefan Dercon writes about no-regret policies for education in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Shocks to Education and Policy Responses

In coordination with a new World Bank report, Dr. Stefan Dercon joins a panel of experts to discuss a new World Bank's report  on how the current situation presents a window of opportunity to prepare for the future, apply 'no-regrets' policies and refresh the way we approach education. 

No-Regret Policies for the COVID-19 Crisis in Developing Countries

In a CGD blog post, University of Oxford's Stefan Dercon offers three key lessons for low-regret decision making under extreme uncertainty: collect data now to reduce uncertainty; change and adapt decisions if the data require it; and focus on trust and communication.

COVID-19 and Migration
Can Migration Patterns Help Predict COVID Outbreaks in South Asia?

The lockdown in South Asia has led to mass migration of people back to their home towns and villages as the work opportunities in urban centres shrink. Researchers discuss the public health risk this poses to rural areas. 

Predicting the Spread of COVID-19 in South Asia Through Migration Corridors

Researcher Mahreen Mahmud contributes to the World Bank's South Asia Economic Focus Spring 2020 Edition on how migration data may provide a way of predicting high risk areas for the spread of coronavirus for policy makers (see Box 1.1 in report).

COVID-19 and Behavioural Messaging
How to Talk to Young Children About Coronavirus

In partnership with the Psychiatry Department at Oxford University, CECD Blackpool has made a film full of tips for parents on how to talk to young children about the Coronavirus. 

Communicating the Diagnosis of Life Threatening Conditions to Children

Dr Louise Dalton, Dr Elizabeth Rapa and Prof Alan Stein look at how guidance around communicating diagnosis of a life threatening condition to children can be adapted to the current COVID-19 situation. 

Communicating Risk: How We Respond to Risk and What That Means for Communication

Dr Kate Orkin joins a specialist panel selected by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction to discuss how we respond to risk and how insights from behavioural economics can inform policy and media communications. 

COVID-19 and Social Grants in South Africa
South Africa's COVID-19 Stimulus Package Including Expansion of Social Grants

How to soften the economic blow of COVID-19? Kate Orkin discusses the stimulus package put together by the South African Government including the expansion of social grants and why cash transfers can be more effective that giving out food parcels.

South Africa Anticipates Answers to Battery Economy, But Will it be Enough

In an overview of the South African Government response to COVID-19, Kate Orkin reflects on the importance of both a humane response and long term investment to protect the social grants system currently in place. 

Campaigning for Social Relief: Getting More Cash Into Homes in South Africa

Kate Orkin discusses the evidence in favour of using cash rather than food for emergency social relief, why cash transfers to the poor are a long term investment as well as an immediate fix, why people use cash responsibly and how to cover those not currently enrolled in grants systems.

COVID-19 and Economic Anxieties
COVID-19 Perceptions and Economic Anxiety

A VoxEU.org column co-authored by researcher Lukas Hensel discusses using Google search activity and individual survey data to document a rapid increase in economic anxiety in the US in response to the initial global spreading of the virus. 

Pound Plummets - Markets, Manias and Viruses

Citing Lukas Hensel's research, a Hargreaves Lansdown story looks at hysteria in today’s market and tells us three things that may indicate when markets will begin to rise again.

What our Google searches can teach us about COVID-19 economic impact

Thiemo Fetzer, Lukas Hensel and Cristopher Roth study how the arrival of the new coronavirus leads to an increase in economic anxieties both through inferred patterns around Google search activity and through a survey experiment in a representative sample from the US.

Other Research News
Cost-effective labour market intervention toolkit adopted by UNDP Accelerator Lab Gambia to support young work-seekers impacted by COVID-19

The UNDP Accelerator Lab in The Gambia is launching an exciting new soft skills training programme for young people who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19. The program will be adopting a labour market intervention developed by Carranza, Garlick, Orkin and Rankin (2020) to reduce labour market friction between prospective employers and young work-seekers.

Using a recently developed toolkit (available on the MBRG website), the team will be delivering an evidence-based program, with iterative feedback from head hunting agencies, with the aims to increase job security. Gambia have adapted the intervention to the local context and are looking to do a six-month evaluation next year.

(With thanks to our sponsor, UKRI GCRF Accelerate Hub).

Assessing and certifying skills of youth in South Africa to address labour market frictions

Addressing information frictions by improving skills communication between work-seekers and potential employers can increase earnings and positive employment outcomes. Carranza, Garlick, Orkin and Rankin (2020) discuss how a skills assessment intervention has had positive outcomes for young work-seekers in South Africa.

Reducing labour market frictions: skills assessment intervention benefits both work-seekers and prospective employers in South Africa

Carranza, Garlick, Orkin and Rankin (2020) discuss their latest paper, showing that assessing young work-seekers’ skills can increase earnings and employment and help prospective employers too. With 67.6 million people aged 15-24 unemployed in 2019, the potential of this intervention to mitigate labour market frictions is exciting.