The coronavirus has often been referred to as an “equalizer,” sickening both the rich and the poor, but is it really affecting people equally? As the socio-economic consequences of the outbreak become apparent, economists and policymakers are more concerned about the distributional impacts of the coronavirus. Students from low-income regions may not have access to the same level of online education as others do; informally employed migrant workers may no longer be able to send money back home; and many countries with scarce resources are facing serious disruptions in the supply chains of essential food and materials. This article will walk you through some of the impacts of the coronavirus epidemic, and explain why it disproportionately affects low-income households.
Since the Chinese government got the COVID-19 outbreak under control, local governments in China have been issuing “consumption vouchers” or “consumption coupons” to their citizens. But experts have expressed concerns about the voucher scheme, mainly in terms of its economic effect, social ramifications, and potential unfairness. Now that the scheme is largely over, it seems apropos to examine the evidence we have and understand why it failed.