In Emerging Markets and Developing Economies, high informality and weak administrative capacity make it challenging for governments to deliver direct income support necessary to tide workers over the crisis in the presence of social distancing. This note reviews these challenges, existing systems and recent crisis responses, and provides a rough quantification of the costs of expanding transfers to informal workers. A transfer to cover the basic food and energy needs of all informal workers for two months could cost over 2 and 5 percentage points of annual GDP in the median emerging market and low-income economies, respectively. As an illustration, the note quantifies potential fiscal gains from two among several possible funding options. Perspectives on response measures for MSMEs and workers post COVID-19 Read More


The state of Kerala, in south-western India, has become ‘a model state in the fight against Covid-19’. The state government’s early and appropriate actions as part of a ‘strict but humane response’ are widely accredited for the success of the state against this pandemic of epic proportions. The primary objectives of the state’s response were to be less disruptive, less costly and more effective, uniting health, governance, economic and social welfare measures. This was exemplified in its all-of-government, all-of-society approach ensuring no one was left behind. Read More



The World Bank Development Research Group is hosting a seminar series, bringing together leading economists, public health experts, and other social scientists together with World Bank Group researchers to discuss emerging research on COVID-19 and its implications for development policy. With cross-cutting expertise on a broad range of topics and countries, the WB Development Research Group is one of the most influential centers of development research in the world. Past seminars in the series have been on topics such as the Macroeconomics of Pandemics, Macroeconomic Policy in the Time of COVID-19 and Policies for Small and Informal firms amongst others. Each past seminar is recorded and available on the series web page with participants discussing their own or otherwise produced latest research on the subject. The e-seminar series is currently ongoing. Read More

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