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Graduate student

Doctoral student to present paper on COVID-19 and labour market outcomes in Peru at 2021 UNU-WIDER Development Conference

August 31, 2021

Economics doctoral student Minoru Higa will be presenting at the upcoming 2021 United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) Development Conference. Titled "The persistent effects of COVID-19 on labour outcomes: evidence from Peru", the paper is co-authored with World Bank consultant Carlos Ospino and associate professor Fernando Aragon.

Dedicated to his father who passed away in Peru due to COVID-19 last April, the paper carries significance for Higa as it examines how COVID-19 impacted his home country's labour supply and earnings 15 months after the beginning of one of the strictest lockdowns set in place to control the pandemic.

Using a labour survey from Peru's capital city with monthly data from January 2019 up to June 2021, Higa and his research partners corroborated the early dramatic impact of the pandemic documented in other countries. These initial effects attenuate over time, but persist and remain sizeable—even by mid-2021 labour income and the number of hours worked have reduced by almost 20%. 

"Income and hours worked dropped by almost 70% either because people stopped working or worked less. While these initial effects attenuate over time, they persist and remain sizeable," says Higa. "We also document that one year into the pandemic, informality does not seem to play a sizeable role anymore compared to the initial months. However, workers formerly employed in vulnerable industries such as retail, hospitality and transport faced larger negative effects."

Higa elaborates, "Furthermore, we find suggestive evidence of intra-household reallocation of labour in families with small children. Our findings highlight the limitations of policies and of society capacity to adapt, to fully mitigate the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 on labor market outcomes." 

You can watch Higa's full presentation by signing up for the 2021 UNU-WIDER Development Conference which takes place online during September 6 - 8. This year's conference theme is focused on "COVID-19 and development—effects and new realities for the Global South". 

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