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The impact of past pandemics on economic and gender inequalities

Michał Brzeziński

Economics & Human Biology, 2021, vol. 43, issue C

Abstract: This paper estimates how previous major pandemic events affected economic and gender inequalities in the short- to medium run. We consider the impact of six major pandemic episodes – H3N2 Flu (1968), SARS (2003), H1N1 Swine Flu (2009), MERS (2012), Ebola (2014), and Zika (2016) – on cross-country inequalities in samples of 46–167 countries observed over 1950–2019. Results show that the past pandemics have moderately increased income inequality in the affected countries in the period of four to five years after the pandemic’s start. On the other hand, we do not find any robust negative impacts on wealth inequality. The results concerning gender inequality are less consistent, but we find some evidence of declining gender equality among the hardest hit countries. Moreover, the gender gap in unemployment grew within the four years after the onset of the pandemic.

Keywords: Pandemics; Income inequality; Wealth inequality; Gender inequality; Covid-19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 I14 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2021.101039

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