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Poverty in the COVID-19 Era

Working Paper 2021-568


Using real-time data from the University of Luxembourg’s COME-HERE nationally representative panel survey, covering more than 8,000 individuals across France, Germany,Italy, Spain, and Sweden, I investigate how income distributions and poverty rates havechanged from January to September 2020. I find that poverty rates increased on average in allcountries from January to May and partially recovered in September. The increase in povertyis heterogeneous across countries, with Italy being the most affected and France the least;within countries, COVID-19 contributed to exacerbating poverty differences across regions inItaly and Spain. With a set of poverty measures from the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke family, I thenexplore the role of individual characteristics in shaping different poverty profiles acrosscountries. Results suggest that poverty increased disproportionately more for youngindividuals, women, and respondents who had a job in January 2020 – with different intensityacross countries.

Authors: Giorgia Menta.

Keywords: COVID-19, Poverty, TIP, Europe, Headcount ratio
JEL: I14, I18, I32