COVID-19 in the global south: Economic impacts and recovery

June 15, 2020

BIDS Senior Fellows and CEGA Faculty Co-Directors Ted Miguel and Josh Blumenstock were recently featured in a webcast about COVID-19 in the global south: Economic impacts and recovery, a part of the Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19 series hosted by the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA).

When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold earlier this year, some of the earliest and strictest containment policies were implemented in the "global south," a term which generally refers to the regions of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania; and more broadly to regions outside Europe and North America, many economically challenged and often politically and/or culturally marginalized. Pandemic stay-at-home orders have had profound implications for those who rely on wages from an informal economy, and the United Nations World Food Program has recently projected that many people in the global south may suffer from acute hunger by the end of the year.

The webinar panel — which also included Paul Niehaus, an associate economics professor at UC San Diego, and Berkeley Economics professor Supreet Kaur — discussed the economic impacts and long-term implications of the pandemic containment policies in low- and middle-income countries, as well as insights that could help government and non-governmental organizations design effective policies to protect individuals and families from deeper poverty.

Berkeley economics professor Ted Miguel shared the results of some weekly phone surveys that his research team is conducting in rural Western Kenya -- the Kenya | COVID-19 Economic Tracker project represents some of the most rigorous evidence available in the region on the spread of COVID-19 and its economic fallout.

Berkeley computer science professor Josh Blumenstock discussed the potential of high-frequency data from mobile phones and satellite networks, combined with machine learning approaches, to rapidly identify households in the direct need of help. “These approaches, based on big data and machine learning, can provide missing and complementary information that, combined with traditional approaches, can help governments more effectively respond to the humanitarian crisis,” he said.

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Related Articles

Machine learning can help get COVID-19 aid to those who need it most
May 14, 2020  |  Joshua Blumenstock   |  Nature

COVID-19 in the global south: Economic impacts and recovery 
June 10, 2020  |   Lauren Friedman Russell   |   Berkeley News

Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19 is a live, online series featuring faculty experts from across the Berkeley campus who are sharing what they know, and what they are learning, about the pandemic. All conversations are recorded and available for viewing at any time.

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Featured Fellows

Edward Miguel

Economics, BITSS, CEGA, UC Berkeley
Alumni - Senior Fellow

Joshua Blumenstock

School of Information, UC Berkeley
BIDS Faculty Council