What Are the Potential Impacts of a Global Health Crisis on Economic Inequalities in Some Countries?

What Are the Potential Impacts of a Global Health Crisis on Economic Inequalities in Some Countries?

Ahmet Eren Yıldırım (Uşak University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6900-9.ch006
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This study investigates the relationship between the COVID-19 crisis and economic inequalities in some developed and developing countries. Many institutions, like OECD, ILO, and UNDP, have released several reports deal with the relationship between COVID-19 and different kinds of inequalities. These reports generally emphasize the same problem. This study includes some indicators about the situation of education and gender inequalities in OECD countries. These indicators purely reveal that COVID-19 has negative effects on both education and gender inequalities in most of developed and developing countries. The main contribution of the study is to point out the importance of recovery policies the cover the inequality problems.
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The Global World has faced a global health problem, namely COVID-19, that has had deadly effects on humanity since the end of 2019. World Health Organization (WHO) declared this global health issue as a pandemic in March 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected humanity by covering all dimensions of life during this period. The first and most immediate action that governments took was lockdowns for many sectors all around the world. These lockdowns directly affected the whole dimensions of daily life; all activities that can be together in a group have been banned. This process led to severe depression in both the production and consumption sectors. As expected, this kind of slowdown process mostly influenced low-income households almost all over the world. On the other hand, there have been vast income and wealth inequalities among the bottom and top of the distribution of household earnings for a very long-time. The high income and wealth inequalities have a negative effect on the socioeconomic structure of any society. Then, one can easily expect that the recent global health crisis would accelerate this effect.

Apart from income and wealth inequalities, the inequalities can be defined with social, cultural, racial, gender topics in the economics literature. Gender inequalities can usually be related to the employment opportunities in the labor market conditions. If anybody wants to decrease the gender inequalities in the labor market balance, there is the only way to solve this issue: increasing female employment. Territorial inequalities are another type of inequality in the related literature. Territorial inequality is also a critical indicator that deals with the development level of a country. All these types of inequalities are generally considered economic inequalities, and so, there may appear a strong relationship between the economic inequalities and COVID-19. Several studies have been conducted to investigate the socioeconomic impacts of the global health problem since the end of 2019 (Blundell et al., 2020; Furceri et al., 2020; Palomino et al., 2020; Papageorge et al., 2020; Stabile et al., 2020; Caitlin and Ravallion, 2020, Deaton, 2021). The common findings show that one of the main reasons for deepening the global health problem is the increasing inequality in the global economy. Then, some questions emerge: Has the COVID-19 negative impacted the socioeconomic structure of any country due to the increasing inequalities? If income and wealth inequalities were low, would COVID-19 still negatively affect the socioeconomic structure? By inspiring from these questions, this chapter focuses on the potential impacts of the current global health crisis on economic inequalities, such as education and gender inequalities, in the selected developed and developing countries.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Well-Being: It is the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy by an individual.

Gender Inequality: It allows people to have different opportunities because of their perceived differences based on gender.

Educational Inequality: It is the unequal distribution of academic resources that would include school funding, qualified teachers, books (textbooks and library), and technology in disadvantaged communities.

Inequality of Outcomes: It occurs when individuals do not possess the same level of material wealth or overall living economic conditions as others. That is, there are differences between individuals in their living conditions.

Gig Economy: It is a form of a labor market in which workers work on short-term contracts or doing freelance work as opposed to holding permanent jobs.

OECD Countries: The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) comprises of 37 countries that discuss and develop economic and social policy to improve economic welfare. The OECD are also economies that support free-market economies.

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