COVID-19 Research

COVID-19 has devastated lives and livelihoods. According to Decerf et al. (2024), the estimates of well-being loss for the average global citizen include a loss of almost three weeks of life, an additional two and half weeks spent in poverty in 2020 and 2021, and the possibility of an additional month of life in poverty in the future due to school closures. To provide insight into the costs, consequences, and policy responses to the crisis, this page highlights research on COVID-19 produced by the World Bank's Development Research Group.


Health and Education | Poverty and Social Safety Nets | Labor Markets and Migration | Macroeconomics and Finance | Private Sector Development | Other Topics

Last Updated April 2024
Health and Education

COVID-19 Increased Existing Gender Mortality Gaps in High-Income Countries More Than in Middle-Income Countries
Kathleen Beegle, Gabriel Demombynes, Damien de Walque, Paul Gubbins, Jeremy Veillard, Policy Research Working Paper 10750, April 2024

Lives, Livelihoods, and Learning: A Global Perspective on the Well-Being Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Benoit Decerf, Jed Friedman, Arthur Mendes, Steven Pennings, Nishant Yonzan, Policy Research Working Paper 10728, March 2024 

System-, Teacher-, and Student-level Interventions for Improving Participation in Online Learning at Scale in High Schools
Igor Asanov, Anastasiya-Mariya Asanov (Noha), Thomas Åstebro, Guido Buenstorf, Bruno Crépon, Francisco Pablo Flores, David McKenzie, Mona Mensmann, and Mathis Schulte, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), September 2023 | Presentation

Responding Adaptively to the COVID-19 Crisis in Indonesia: Insights and Implications from an Indonesian Governance Program
Maliki Achmad, Graham Teskey, Anna Winoto, and Michael Woolcock, CID Faculty Working Paper Series 2023.425, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, February 2023

Financing Vaccine Equity: Funding for Day-Zero of the Next Pandemic
Ruchir Agarwal and Tristan Reed, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, December 2022 | Working Paper version

Are COVID-19 Age-Mortality Curves for 2020 Flatter in Developing Countries? Evidence from a cross-sectional observational study of population-level official death counts and excess deaths estimates
Gabriel Demombynes, Damien B. C. M. De Walque, Paul Michael Gubbins, Beatric Piedad Urdinola, Jeremy Henri Maurice Veillard, BMJ Open, November 2022 | Working Paper version

Inferring COVID-19 Vaccine Attitudes from Twitter Data: An Application to the Arabic Speaking World
Roy van der Weide, Policy Research Working Paper 10165, World Bank, Washington, DC, September 2022

Indirect Effects on Maternal and Child Mortality from the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Disruptions in Healthcare Utilization in 18 Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Tashrik Ahmed, Timothy Roberton, Monitoring of Essential Health Services Team, Jean Patrick Alfred, Martina Baye, Mamoutou Diabate, Helen Kiarie, Paul Mbaka, Nur Ali Mohamud, Charles Mwansambo, Youssoupha Ndiaye, Charles Nzelu, Anthony Adofo Ofosu, Tsihory Raharison, Husnia Sadat, Francis Smart, Helal Uddin, Naod Wendrad, Chea Sanford Wesseh, Mohamad Lamine Yasane, Sylvain Yuma, Petra Vergeer, Peter M. Hansen, Jed Friedman, Gil Shapira, SSRN Preprint, September 2021

How many infants may have died in low-income and middle-income countries in 2020 due to the economic contraction accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic?
Gil ShapiraDamien de WalqueJed Friedman, BMJ Open, August 2021

Policy Actions to Increase the Supply of COVID-19 Vaccines in the Short Term
Mamta Murthi and Tristan ReedResearch & Policy Brief 49, World Bank, Washington, DC, August 2021

Disruptions in maternal and child health service utilization during COVID-19: analysis from eight sub-Saharan African countries
Gil Shapira, Tashrik Ahmed, Salomé Henriette Paulette Drouard, Pablo Amor Fernandez, Eeshani Kandpal, Charles Nzelu, Chea Sanford Wesseh, Nur Ali Mohamud, Francis Smart, Charles Mwansambo, Martina L Baye, Mamatou Diabate, Sylvain Yuma, Munirat Ogunlayi, Rwema Jean De Dieu Rusatira, Tawab Hashemi, Petra Vergeer, Jed Friedman, Health Policy and Planning, czab064, June 2021

Five Ways that COVID-19 Diagnostics Can Save Lives : Prioritizing Uses of Tests to Maximize Cost-Effectiveness
Tristan Reed, William Waites, David Manheim, Damien B. C. M. de Walque, Chiara Vallini, Roberta V. Gatti, Timiothy B. Hallett. Research & Policy Brief 43, World Bank, Washington, DC, February 2021

How to End the COVID-19 Pandemic by March 2022
Ruchir Agarwal and Tristan Reed, Policy Research Working Paper 9632, World Bank, Washington, DC, April 2021

Modeling and Predicting the Spread of Covid-19: Comparative Results for the United States, the Philippines, and South Africa
Susmita Dasgupta and David Wheeler, Policy Research Working Paper 9419, World Bank, Washington, DC, October 2020

The Human Capital Index 2020 Update: Human Capital in the Time of COVID-19
Roberta V. Gatti, Paul Corral, Nicola Dehnen, Ritika D’Souza, Juan Mejalenko, and Steven Pennings. Washington, DC: World Bank, September 2020

Remote-learning, Time-Use, and Mental Health of Ecuadorian High-School Students during the COVID-19 Quarantine
Igor Asanov, Francisco Flores, David McKenzie, Mona Mensmann, and Mathis Schulte, Policy Research Working Paper 9252, World Bank, Washington, DC, May 2020

How Two Tests Can Help Contain COVID-19 and Revive the Economy
Damien De Walque, Jed Friedman, Roberta V. Gatti, and Aaditya Mattoo, Research & Policy Brief 29, World Bank, Washington, DC, April 2020

Strengthening Public Health Systems: Policy Ideas from a Governance Perspective
Stuti Khemani, Sarang Chaudhary, and Thiago Scot, Policy Research Working Paper 9220, World Bank, Washington, DC, April 2020

Poverty and Social Safety Nets

Revisiting Poverty Trends and the Role of Social Protection Systems in Africa during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Kibrom A. Abay, Nishant Yonzan, Sikandra Kurdi, and Kibrom Tafere, Journal of African Economies, April 2023 | Working Paper version

COVID-19 and Food Security in Ethiopia: Do Social Protection Programs Protect?
Kibrom A. Abay, Guush Berhane, John Hoddinott, and Kibrom Tafere, Economic Development and Cultural Change, January 2023 | Working Paper version

Respondent Fatigue Reduces Dietary Diversity Scores Reported from Mobile Phone Surveys in Ethiopia during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Kibrom A. Abay, Guush Berhane, John Hoddinott, and Kibrom Tafere, Journal of Nutrition, October 2022 | Working Paper version

The Intergenerational Mortality Tradeoff of COVID-19 Lockdown Policies
Lin Ma, Gil Shapira, Damien B. C. M. De Walque, Quy-Toan Do, Jed Friedman, and Andrei A. Levchenko, International Economic Review, August 2022 | Working Paper version

Death and Destitution: The Global Distribution of Welfare Losses from the COVID-19 Pandemic
Francisco H. G. Ferreira, Olivier Christian Brigitte Sterck, Daniel Gerszon Mahler, and Benoit Decerf, Policy Research Working Paper 9673, World Bank, Washington, DC, May 2021

Lives and Livelihoods: Estimates of the Global Mortality and Poverty Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Benoit Decerf, Francisco H. G. Ferreira, Daniel Gerszon Mahler, and Olivier Sterck, Policy Research Working Paper 9277, World Bank, Washington, DC, June 2020

Labor Markets and Migration

Influence of COVID-19 on Female Sex Workers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: A Mixed-Methods Analysis
Marianna Balampama, Damien de Walque, William H. Dow, and Rebecca Hémono, Policy Research Working Paper 10572, World Bank, Washington, DC, September 2023

Labor Market Effects of Global Supply Chain Disruptions
Mauricio Ulate, Jose P. Vasquez, and Roman D. Zarate, Policy Research Working Paper 10434, World Bank, Washington, DC, May 2023

Least Protected, Most Affected: Impacts of Migration Regularization Programs on Pandemic Resilience
Maria José Urbina, Sandra V. Rozo, Andrés Moya, and Ana María Ibáñez, AEA Papers and Proceedings, May 2023 | Working Paper version

Discrimination toward migrants during crises
Marisol Rodríguez Chatruc and Sandra Viviana Rozo, Migration Studies, December 2022 | Working Paper version

COVID-19 and Changes in Intentions to Migrate from The Gambia
Tijan L Bah, Catia Batista, Flore Gubert, David McKenzie, Journal of African Economies, December 2022

Do Immigrants Shield the Locals? Exposure to COVID-related risks in the European Union
Laurent Bossavie, Daniel Garrote Sanchez, Mattia Makovec, and Çağlar Özden, Review of International Economics, November 2022 | Working Paper version

Neither by Land nor by Sea: The Rise of Electronic Remittances during COVID-19
Lelys Ileana Dinarte Diaz, David Jose Jaume, Eduardo Medina-Cortina, Hernan Winkler, Policy Research Working Paper 10057, World Bank, Washington, DC, May 2022

Occupational Hazards: Why Migrants Faced Greater Economic and Health Risks during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Laurent Bossavie, Daniel Garrote Sanchez, Mattia Makovec, and Caglar Ozden, Policy Research Working Paper 9873, World Bank, Washington, DC, December 2021

How Has COVID-19 Affected the Intention to Migrate via the Backway to Europe
Tijan L. Bah, Catia Batista, Flore Gubert, and David J. Mckenzie, Policy Research Working Paper 9658, World Bank, Washington, DC, May 2021

Who on Earth Can Work from Home?
Daniel Garrote Sanchez, Nicolas Gomez Parra, Caglar Ozden, Bob Rijkers, Mariana Viollaz, and Hernan Winkler, Policy Research Working Paper 9347, World Bank, Washington, DC, July 2020

Which Jobs Are Most Vulnerable to COVID-19? What an Analysis of the European Union Reveals
Daniel Garrote Sanchez, Nicolas Gomez Parra, Caglar Ozden, and Bob Rijkers, Research & Policy Brief 34, World Bank, Washington, DC, May 2020

Macroeconomics and Finance

Digital Payments and the COVID-19 Shock: The Role of Preexisting Conditions in Banking, Infrastructure, Human Capabilities, and Digital Regulation
Robert Cull, Vivien Foster, Dean Jolliffe, Daniel Lederman, Davide Salvatore Mare, and Malarvizhi Veerappan, Policy Research Working Paper 10603, World Bank, Washington, DC, November 2023

The Impact of COVID-19 on Electricity Generation: An Empirical Investigation
Chang Shen, Anna Alberini, and Govinda Timilsina, Policy Research Working Paper 10116, World Bank, Washington, DC, June 2022

How Well Can Real-Time Indicators Track the Economic Impacts of a Crisis Like COVID-19?
Gi Khan Ten, Josh Merfeld, Kibrom Tafere, David Newhouse, and Utz Pape, Policy Research Working Paper 10080, World Bank, Washington, DC, June 2022

World Development Report 2022: Finance for an Equitable Recovery
Leora Klapper
and Martin Kanz, World Bank, Washington, DC, February 2022

The Economic Ripple Effects of COVID-19
Francisco J. Buera, Roberto N. Fattal Jaef, P. Andres Neumeyer, Hugo Hopenhayn, and Yongseok Shin, Policy Research Working Paper 9631, World Bank, Washington, DC, April 2021

Growth of Global Corporate Debt: Main Facts and Policy Challenges
Facundo Abraham, Juan Jose Cortina Lorente, and Sergio L. Schmukler, Policy Research Working Paper 9394, World Bank, Washington, DC,  September 2020

Recovery from the Pandemic Crisis: Balancing Short-Term and Long-Term Concerns
Norman V. Loayza, Apurva Sanghi, Nurlina Binti Shaharuddin, and Lucie Johanna Wuester, Research & Policy Brief 38, World Bank, Washington, DC, September 2020

Banking Sector Performance During the COVID-19 Crisis
Asli Demirguc-Kunt, Alvaro Pedraza Morales, and Claudia Ruiz, Policy Research Working Paper 9363, World Bank, Washington, DC, August 2020

The Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic in Emerging Market and Developing Economies: An Optimistic Preliminary Account
Pinelopi K. Goldberg, and Tristan Reed, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Summer, 161-211, 2020

Winners and Losers When Private Banks Distribute Government Loans: Evidence from Earmarked Credit in Brazil
Jose Renato Haas Ornelas, Alvaro PedrazaClaudia Ruiz-Ortega, and Thiago SilvaPolicy Research Working Paper 8952, World Bank, Washington, DC, April 2020 

Macroeconomic Policy in the Time of COVID-19: A Primer for Developing Countries
Norman VLoayza, and Steven Michael Pennings, Research & Policy Brief 28, World Bank, Washington, DC, March 2020

Private Sector Development

Government Support and Firm Performance during COVID-19
Miriam Bruhn, Asli Demirguc-Kunt, Dorothe Singer, Policy Research Working Paper 10658, World Bank, Washington, DC, April 2020 

Firms in Global Value Chains during Covid-19: Evidence from Indonesia
Devaki Ghose and Angella Montfaucon, Policy Research Working Paper 10514, World Bank, Washington, DC, June 2023 

Trade Promotion Organizations in the Pandemic World
Yewon Choi, Ana Fernandes, Arti Grover, Leonardo Iacovone, and Marcelo Olarreaga, Policy Research Working Paper 10374, World Bank, Washington, DC, March 2023

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women-Led Businesses
Jesica Torres, Franklin Maduko, Isis Gaddis, Leonardo Iacovone, and Kathleen Beegle, World Bank Research Observer, February 2023 | Working Paper version

Firm Resources, Strategies, and Survival and Growth during COVID-19: Evidence from Two-Wave Global Surveys
Sheng Fang, Chorching Goh, Shaomin Li, L. Colin Xu, Policy Research Working Paper 9997, World Bank, Washington, DC, April 2022 

Globally Engaged Firms in the COVID-19 Crisis
Cristina Constantinescu, Ana Margarida Fernandes, Arti Grover, Stavros Poupakis, and Santiago Reyes, Policy Research Working Paper 9991, World Bank, Washington, DC, April 2022

How Resilient Was Trade to COVID-19?
Maria Bas, Ana Margarida Fernandes, and Caroline Paunov, Policy Research Working Paper 9975, World Bank, Washington, DC, March 2022

Can Business Grants Mitigate a Crisis Evidence from Youth Entrepreneurs in Kenya during COVID-19
Yanina Domenella, Julian C Jamison, Abla Safir, and Bilal Husnain Zia, Policy Research Working Paper 9874, World Bank, Washington, DC, December 2021

Competition and Firm Recovery Post-COVID-19
Miriam Bruhn, Asli Demirguc-Kunt, and Dorothe Singer, Policy Research Working Paper 9851, World Bank, Washington, DC, November 2021

Organizational Resources, Country Institutions, and National Culture behind Firm Survival and Growth during COVID-19
Yu Liu, Mike W. Peng, Zuobao Wei, Jian Xu, and L. Colin Xu, Policy Research Working Paper 9633, World Bank, Washington, DC, April 2021

The Impact of COVID-19 on Formal Firms: Micro Tax Data Simulations across Countries
Pierre Bachas, Anne Brockmeyer, and Camille Semelet, Policy Research Working Paper 9437, World Bank, Washington, DC, October 2020

Winners and Losers from COVID-19: Global Evidence from Google Search
Kibrom A. Abay, Kibrom Tafere, and Andinet Woldemichael, Policy Research Working Paper 9268, World Bank, Washington, DC, June 2020

Financing Firms in Hibernation during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Tatiana Didier, Federico Huneeus, Mauricio Larrain, and Sergio L. Schmukler, Policy Research Working Paper 9236, World Bank, Washington, DC, May 2020

Other Topics

Talk or Text? Evaluating Response Rates by Remote Survey Method during COVID-19
Sofia Fernando Monteiro Amaral, Lelys Ileana Dinarte Diaz, Patricio Dominguez, Santiago M. Perez-Vincent, Steffanny Romero, Policy Research Working Paper 9999, World Bank, Washington, DC, April 2022

The Interplay of Policy, Institutions, and Culture in the Time of Covid-19
Sheng Fang, L. Colin Xu, and Yuanyuan Yi, Policy Research Working Paper 9470, World Bank, Washington, DC, November 2020

An Opportunity to Build Legitimacy and Trust in Public Institutions in the Time of COVID-19
Stuti Khemani, Research & Policy Brief 32, World Bank, Washington, DC, May 2020

Costs and Trade-Offs in the Fight Against the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Developing Country Perspective
Norman V. Loayza, Research & Policy Brief 35, World Bank, Washington, DC, May 2020