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Implications of Major Adverse Events on Productivity

Alistair Dieppe (), Sinem Kilic Celik and Cedric Iltis Finafa Okou

No 9411, Policy Research Working Paper Series from The World Bank

Abstract: Since 2000, there have been three major global slowdowns, with the latest and most pronounced episode triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, many countries have faced major adverse events including natural disasters, wars, and financial crises, all of which can lead to long-lasting harm to productivity. Wars inflict particularly severe damage to productivity, while financial crises also lead to substantial losses, especially accompanied by a rapid build-up of debt. The greater frequency of natural disasters, especially climate disasters, means that they have the largest aggregate impact on productivity, as natural disasters have occurred most often and their frequency has doubled since 2000. Global adverse events can have large sustained negative effects on productivity through dislocating labor, tightening of credit, disrupting value chains, and decreasing innovation. Policies to counter the negative consequences of adverse shocks include accommodative fiscal policies, such as reconstruction spending on resilient infrastructure; transparent governance; efficient use of relief funds; as well as growth-friendly structural reforms. Appropriate policies and regulations concerning finance, construction, and environmental protection can help reduce the frequency of adverse shocks.

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Date: 2020-09-22
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