Miscellaneous Knowledge Notes

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  • Publication
    Protecting Workers, Firms, and Worker-Firm Attachment During COVID-19: Economic Considerations for the Assessment of Policy Measures
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-07-26) Carranza, Eliana; Veuger, Stan; Weber, Michael
    Governments around the world provided various types of support to businesses and their employees affected by the by the COVID-19 pandemic, to preserve employer-employee links, organizational knowledge, and firm-specific human capital, and to facilitate the economic recovery. This note complements efforts dedicated to document jobs-related policy responses by providing an overview of some of the basic economic considerations for the design and assessment of these policy measures, with special attention to emerging economies. The authors outline a simple framework for policy assessment that accounts for the mechanisms that transmit COVID-19 shocks through the economy and the implications of the larger informal sector and fiscal constraints shared by many emerging economies. The authors then apply this framework to analyze an array of policies that have been deployed to prevent and address business failures and job losses in sectors directly or indirectly affected by the pandemic.
  • Publication
    How Did Countries Respond to the COVID-19 Crisis? Emerging Patterns on Jobs-Relates Policies
    (World Bank, Washington DC, 2023-04-24) Contreras , Ivette; Khamis, Melanie; Newhouse, David; Weber, Michael
    This brief investigates the differences in countries’ jobs-related policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Four main patterns emerge. First, the type of labor policies adopted by countries varied greatly according to their income level. Low-income countries were more likely to implement public works programs but not other policies, such as unemployment benefits, labor regulations, wage subsidies, training and placements policies, firm liquidity support, and cash transfers to workers. Meanwhile, countries with more formal workforce and existing unemployment benefits systems were more likely to implement policies such as unemployment benefits and labor regulations. Second, low- and lower-middle-income countries devoted a lower share of their gross domestic product (GDP) to expenditure on new job-related policies. Third, conditional on countries’ income group, the magnitude of the GDP shock did not have a statistically significant correlation with the adoption of different policies. This may reflect uncertainty in the the extent of the GDP shock when the policy response was determined or noise in the measure of GDP. Finally, countries that adopted more stringent COVID-19 restrictions were more likely to adopt changes to labor regulations, specifically changes in working conditions to try to soften the blow on workers. These results suggest that the policy response to the crisis in low- and lower-middle-income countries was constrained by the lack of resources, resulting in lower-cost policies with generally limited impacts on workers.
  • Publication
    Public Services and COVID-19: Reflections from the Pacific - Trust
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-10-24) World Bank
    The purpose of this note is to identify good practice in public sector management drawn from Pacific Island public service experiences of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. These experiences were brought together through a World Bank engagement with Pacific Island countries in 2021 and 2022. The engagement identified five core aspects of Pacific Island public service management in response to COVID-19: trust, preparation, adaptable system settings, adaptable operating models, and sustainable wage bills. This first note in the series of five focuses on the importance of trust. The primary audience is public service leaders in Pacific Islands. The note will also be of interest to anyone working on designing and leading public sector management systems through rapid change, uncertainty and crises.
  • Publication
    Economic and Social Impacts of the Recent Crises in Tonga: Insights from the April-May 2022 Round of High Frequency Phone Surveys
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-10-21) World Bank
    This report includes: the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai (HT-HH) volcanic eruption (January 15, 2022) and a subsequent tsunami, COVID-19 outbreak and the associated lockdown (starting on February 2); to assess and monitor the economic and social impacts of the crises, the World Bank launched household-level HFPS with a plan to collect 6 rounds of surveys until mid-2024; surveys interview the same households across rounds to monitor various socio-economic outcomes and inform policy and government programs; and similar HFPS have been implemented in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands with Vanuatu and Fiji in the pipeline, under the World Bank Pacific Observatory initiative
  • Publication
    COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea: Economic and Social Impacts - Insights from the Fifth Round of High Frequency Phone Surveys
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-05-31) World Bank
    The fifth round of the high frequency phone survey (HFPS) interviewed 2,630 households in June 2022 on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19, including employment and income, community trust and security and COVID-19 vaccination. It follows four rounds of surveys conducted from June 2020 to December 2021. The previous round of the HFPS (round 4), found that recovery was weak in 2021, with household incomes falling, and highlighted persistently low COVID-19 vaccination rates. While the third wave of COVID-19 was over by June 2022, PNG remains the least vaccinated country in the EAP region and could be vulnerable to future outbreaks of COVID-19. The World Bank estimates that the PNG economy contracted by 3.5 percent in 2020 before returning to positive economic growth of 1 percent in 2021. Stronger economic growth is projected for 2022, of 4 percent. In particular, strong growth is projected for the extractive sector (6.8 percent). However, the trajectory of economic recovery remains highly uncertain.
  • Publication
    Results from Round Three (July 2021) of the Solomon Islands High-Frequency Phone Survey
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-04-01) Johnson, Darcey Jeanne Genou; Naidoo, Darian; Wokker, Christopher Jan; Zheng, Shuwen
    These are four reports covering the July 2021 Solomon Islands phone survey: The first brief presents analysis of the social and food security impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Solomon Islands. While widespread transmission of COVID-19 did not occur in 2021, COVID-19 preparedness measures such as border closures and precautionary public health measures, as well as weak external demand may have had an impact on the welfare of households. The findings in this brief come from the third round of the World Bank’s High Frequency Phone Surveys (HFPS), as well as UNICEF’s Social-Economic Impact Assessment Survey (SIAS). The second brief focuses on household level impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Solomon Islands for the first half of 2021 based on data from the third round of the World Bank’s High Frequency Phone Surveys (HFPS) and UNICEF’s Social-Economic Impact Assessment Survey (SIAS). The survey covered topics including employment and income, COVID-19 vaccination, basic services, food security and nutrition, coping strategies, public services, and public trust and security. While widespread transmission of COVID-19 did not occur in 2021, COVID-19 preparedness measures such as border closures and precautionary public health measures, as well as weak external demand may have had an impact on the welfare of households. The third brief focuses on household-level economic impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Solomon Islands during the first half of 2021, based on data from a High Frequency Phone Survey (HFPS). While widespread transmission of COVID-19 did not occur in 2021, COVID-19 preparedness measures such as border closures and precautionary public health measures, as well as weak external demand may have had an impact on the welfare of households. The annex provides information on the survey methodology. The fourth brief covers COVID-19 Vaccination and Essential Service Access.
  • Publication
    Firms’ Recovery from COVID-19 in Malaysia: Results from the 4th Round of COVID-19 Business Pulse Survey
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-02-28) Kuriakose, Smita; Tran, Trang Thu; Ting, Kok Onn; Hebous, Sarah Waltraut
    The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) business pulse survey (BPS) is a rapid survey designed to measure the various channels of impact of COVID-19 on firms, firm adjustment strategies, and public policy responses. The World Bank, in collaboration with a private survey company, conducted the 4th round of the Malaysia BPS in February to March 2022, following the 1st round in October 2020, 2nd round in Mid-January to February 2021, and 3rd round in July 2021. Firms were sampled randomly from an online business panel database, which consists of 100,000+ companies in all sectors and sizes, across Peninsular and East Malaysia. A minimum sample size was obtained for sectors that are important to Malaysia’s economy and are sensitive to the COVID-19 crisis (export-oriented activities: electronics, automotive, tourism related activities) while preserving the sectoral shares in the sampling frame. The survey was conducted online and yielded 1,500 responses from respondents in senior management positions at their company (i.e. owners, C-suite or Director level).
  • Publication
    Somalia: COVID-19 High Phone Survey Wave 2 Brief
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-11) Kotikula, Andy; Pournik, Milad; Yoshimura, Kazusa
    In January 2021, the second wave of the Somalia high frequency phone survey has been administered, calling 2,811 households to see the impact of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on people’s behavior and livelihood. The first wave has been conducted in June 2020, and compared to that, the adoption of preventive measures such as washing hands and wearing mask was less widespread in the second wave, while over 90 percent of people expressed interest in getting tested and vaccinated. The overall employment rate seems to have improved from the first wave, but still the majority of households (79 percent) reported the further income reduction. Food insecurity has clearly worsened compared to the first wave while government and non-government assistance appears to have reduced greatly since 2020, which strongly suggests the need of further support to the Somalis, especially the most vulnerable groups including internally displaced populations (IDPs) and nomadic households.
  • Publication
    Managing Long COVID in East Asia and the Pacific
    (World Bank, Malaysia, 2021-10-07) Arur, Aneesa; Islamaj, Ergys; Kim, Young Eun; Le, Duong Trung; Mattoo, Aaditya; Somanathan, Aparnaa; Mattoo, Aaditya
    The highly contagious Delta variant is fueling new outbreaks in East Asia and the Pacific (EAP). It is becoming evident that COVID-19 (coronavirus) is not leaving any time soon and may be here to stay. Countries with high vaccination coverage show, however, that transition to a relativelybenign phase of "managed endemicity" may be possible. At current trends, and given vaccine availability, many EAP countries are expected to vaccinate more than 60 percent of their populations by the first half of next year. Achieving and sustaining high coverage will require improving distribution capacity, overcoming vaccine hesitancy, and expanding regional production of vaccines to ensure reliable supplies for persistent COVID-19. Countries will also need to sustain the process of testing, tracing, and isolation, as well as precautions such as social distancing and wearing masks. Finally, countries need to strengthen their health systems to cope with long COVID.
  • Publication
    Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 on Households in Somalia: Results from Round 1 of the Somali High-Frequency Phone Survey
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-10-01) Karamba, Wendy; Salcher, Isabelle
    The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and its effects on households create an urgent need for timely data and evidence to help monitor and mitigate the social and economic impacts of the crisis on the Somali people, especially the poor and most vulnerable. To monitor the socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and inform policy responses and interventions, the World Bank designed and conducted a nationally representative Somali High-Frequency Phone Survey (SHFPS) of households. The survey covers important and relevant topics, including knowledge of COVID-19 and adoption of preventative behavior, economic activity and income sources, access to basic goods and services, exposure to shocks and coping mechanisms, and access to social assistance. This brief summarizes the findings of the first round of the SHFPS, implemented between June and July 2020. The information presented here is based on a sample of 2,811 households across all regions of Somalia, drawn using a random digit dialing protocol. Sampling weights are computed to ensure representativeness at the national and state level, and by population type. The same households will be tracked over 12 months, with selected respondents—typically the household head—completing interviews every 8-12 weeks. Monitoring the well-being of households over time will improve understanding of the effects of, and household responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in near-real time.